The backdoor Islamic supremacism of ‘The Muslim Vote’

24 May 2024

Public Policy Researcher Carys Moseley examines a new campaign called ‘The Muslim Vote’ and warns of its intent to influence politics towards Islamic supremacism

Last Monday the CEO of a new campaign called The Muslim Vote (TMV) surfaced in the Guardian newspaper. 

Abubakr Nanabawa is a 24-year-old campaigner who incorporated TMV Civic Engagement Limited in February this year. He celebrated the English local election results as part of a campaign to punish Labour for backing Israel since the 7 October massacre. 

Last week, he was interviewed on this by Turkish state-sponsored outlet TRT World. Buoyed by its success in England, two weeks ago TMV held a meeting in Cardiff supported by the Muslim Council of Wales and all local chapters of Palestine protest groups. 

This week TMV tweeted that the data shows that ‘we can impact 103 seats’. All of this has a bearing on fundamental freedoms in the UK. Now that a general election has been called, campaigning is going to intensify, and a group such as this one will work hard to push its demands into the mainstream.  

TMV’s 18 demands to Keir Starmer regarding the general election 

On 5 May, The Muslim Vote tweeted eighteen demands to Keir Starmer should he win the next general election. Taken as a whole, these amount to an attempt to slip Islamic supremacism in through the back door.  

TMV prioritises lobbying on Palestine at all levels 

Demands 1-5 and 17 are for the hoped-for Labour government to prioritise an Islamic supremacist position on the Palestinian issue. 

This is basic to its philosophy: 

“Our philosophy is really simple: if none of the candidates are pro-Palestine, pro-peace, then we need to work harder to convince them otherwise. Alternative parties typically will back these stances however, so in almost all seats you should be able to vote for at least someone. Contact us for training on how to lobby your local candidates.” 

There is no demand for Hamas to call for a ceasefire. 

What will TMV do if politicians do not act according to their wishes? One possibility is that they form their own party. Another is that there might be increased pressure on Muslims not to vote. Another possibility is more subtle campaigning to influence the machinery of democracy beyond political parties.  

Then there is TMV’s weaponisation of the claim that Israel’s offensive in Gaza is genocide. This is a foreign policy matter and thus it is inappropriate for a campaign aimed at candidates standing in local or devolved elections. The insinuation is that politicians who don’t support (their version of) a ceasefire are supporting genocide. TMV does not admit that Hamas’ attitude to Israel is one of genocide.  

All this is a way of smearing all politicians who are not covert Hamas supporters and Islamists as beyond the pale.

Undermining democracy through prioritising Palestinian issues 

When The Muslim Vote first appeared online a few months ago, it was only targeting Westminster constituencies that could be swung by Muslim voters. Nearly all those listed were in England. However in the English local elections over forty councillors were elected for their Islamist pro-Palestine stance.  

The obvious problem with this is that it undermined the purpose of having local council elections, namely to vote on policies over which local councils have powers. They do not have powers over foreign policy. Foreign policy is decided by the UK government and Parliament. We therefore need to ask whether the real purpose of pro-Palestine campaigning in local councils was to intimidate the lower tiers of democracy in the UK to be more favourable to Islamic demands.  

Demand for Islamic prayer in schools 

Demand number 6 is “Issue guidance that Muslims are allowed to pray at school.” 

Clearly this is a reaction to the court judgment in favour of Michaela School. 

Tim Dieppe, Christian Concern’s Head of Public Policy, has explained that the rule banned prayer rituals not prayer as such. The reason was that a small number of Muslim pupils were intimidating fellow Muslim pupils into conducting prayer rituals in the school. It isn’t hard to see that TMV will perpetuate the kind of grievance peddled against Michaela School.  

Who is behind The Muslim Vote?  

TMV’s pledges are mostly adopted from those put forward by the Community Policy Forum (CPF), which first started out lobbying the Scottish Parliament. The new pledges are the ones for Palestinian issues, reviewing the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), education, removing the new extremism definition, and political participation. The pledge on Finance & Investment has come from Islamic Finance Guru 

CPF is run by Isobel Ingham-Barrow, who is also Director of Policy at MEND (see below for why this matters), as well as doing a PhD in Islamic Studies at Exeter University. CPF first appeared on 25 January 2022 as a member of the Cross-Party Group on Challenging Racial and Religious Prejudice in the Scottish Parliament. Scottish Labour MSPs ran the group.  

The Muslim Vote wants to dismantle counter-terrorism 

Demand number 7 is “Implement findings of people’s review of prevent – not Shawcross.” This is taken from the CPF pledge to oppose Prevent, the government’s anti-terrorism watchdog.  

This campaign, Prevent Watch, has been close to Hizb Ut-Tahrir Britain, the recently proscribed Islamist group that wants a global caliphate. HuTB had praised Hamas as ‘heroes’ and praised the 7 October attacks.  

Demand number 8 is “Remove ‘extremism’ definition gove [sic] introduced.” Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), itself named by Michael Gove as an Islamist extremist organisation, called for its rejection in March. Simultaneously, CPF made the same demand in an open letter to Michael Gove. One of the signatories was the CEO of Friends of Al Aqsa, Ismail Patel, who is on record as denying that Hamas is a terrorist organisation 

The desire to censor criticism of Islam 

Demand number 9 is “Commit to full implementation of Royal charter re media regulation.” The only reason for this would be to clamp down on critical coverage of Islam.  

Demand number 10 is “Adopt APPG definition of Islamophobia.” The Islamophobia definition is continuously being pushed in order to silence criticism of strategies and tactics for Islamising the UK.

Dhimmi status for non-Muslims through the back door? 

Demand number 11 is “Commit to review of public sector equality duty.” 

Of all the demands this is one of the least noted but most concerning. The PSED is certainly open to criticism from various angles as regards the provision of equality training in workplaces and its effect on fundamental freedoms. However, when a group that is making Islamic demands in politics wants a review, the question is why. Is it wanting a backdoor means of allowing domination of Muslims with extremist links over non-Muslims in the public sector?  

Sharia finance demands 

Demand number 13 is “Deliver alternative student finance.” The Muslim Census has made the debatable claim that Muslims are underrepresented in higher education because they cannot obtain sharia finance. In reality, as Christian Concern’s booklet on Islamic finance shows, sharia finance is linked to Islamist extremism.  

Demand number 14 is “Ensure sharia compliant pensions are available at every workplace. So the 1/3 of Muslims without a pension get one.” 

This demand has come from the election pledges already promoted by Islamic Finance Guru. Two years ago IFG did a survey that it says received responses from ‘600 of the most financially savvy Muslims in the UK’, and 30.4% of respondents did not have a pension. However, no methodology is given for this survey. We don’t know whether it was a random representative sample of British Muslims. It’s therefore impossible to tell whether it’s true that one third don’t have a pension, let alone whether they would want a sharia compliant pension. 

Demand number 15 is “Ensure insurance quotes don’t cost more for someone called “Muhammad”.” TMV thinks this is the result of discrimination. In reality, as a Muslim commentator has pointed out, Muslims are more likely to be younger and live in inner cities. Rakib Ehsan points out that this combination is linked to more road incidents, thus higher insurance quotes. It isn’t anti-Muslim discrimination.   

Demand number 16 is “Commit 7% of the LGPS/ public sector pensions to ethical and Islamic funds.” 

This one appears to be saying that public sector pensions should be aligned with the percentage of the population that is Muslim. TMV blatantly wants public money to be siphoned towards Islamic charities and businesses just because a certain percentage of the population is Muslim. Given the long-standing problem with a significant minority of Islamic charities funnelling money to Islamist extremist activities, the government should be extremely wary of such a demand.  

Undermining anti-corruption 

Demand number 18 is “Remove the archaic ‘spiritual influence’ offence from statute.” The law on undue influence is there to prevent clergy or preachers intimidating adherents of a religion into voting for a particular party or candidate. 

For example, adherents could be threatened with certain penalties, spiritual or material, if who they voted for became known. This is therefore tied up with concerns about religious leaders simultaneously pre-organising block votes, e.g. through ballot stuffing or arranging postal votes.  

TMV is annoyed about the law against undue spiritual influence in elections, which was used in court against Lutfur Rahman, the corrupt mayor of Tower Hamlets.  

What does ‘building consensus’ mean? 

Having issued these demands, TMV said this to Keir Starmer: 

“There’s more but that’ll do for starters. 

Our asks are sophisticated and we’ve built consensus around them.  

Your sorrowful none-statements no longer cut it.” 

In its FAQ, TMV has a question: ‘Are you telling me who to vote for?’. The answer is not ‘No’. Tellingly, it mentions the choosing of a ‘consensus candidate’ chosen by local community leaders in ‘Muslim-heavy areas’. This does not bode well for democracy.  

Is TMV part of a global campaign? 

The Muslim Vote Hall Green joined Twitter in January, based in Birmingham. It follows The Canadian-Muslim Vote, which has been on Twitter since 2023. There was a previous TMV Twitter account for the UK since October 2023. The Muslim Vote Australia has identical​ graphics and formatting to the current TMV UK account. There’s also The Muslim Vote India. 

All this makes it likely that TMV is part of a global campaign. This increases the likelihood that it espouses an Islamic supremacist position.  

Backdoor Islamic supremacism 

By now it should be clear that TMV is highly likely to be attempting to sneak in Islamic supremacism through the back door into British politics. 

If it can’t influence political candidates it isn’t impossible that it could try other routes and link up with others already doing this. 

The fact that TMV’s Cardiff event was supported by pro-Palestine organisations actually helps illuminate how the weekly Palestine protests are a psychological weapon aiming to intimidate people into giving into Islamic demands. These protesters have been marching around the centre of Cardiff every Saturday since 7 October 2023, just like in London. The latter’s actions have included ‘occupying’ Cardiff Central rail station, blockading banks, filling out shopping centres, throwing Israeli produce around in supermarkets, and vandalising the BBC 

The aim of such aggressive protests all over the UK is to intimidate the public into seeing Islamic demands about Palestine as more important than other foreign policy issues, and not to bother complaining about the intended takeover of public spaces.  

Campaigners probably hope to use this to make domestic Islamic demands more palatable as concessions to Muslims as alleged victims of discrimination. This victimology is basic to TMV’s electoral demands. 

If we, as Christians, care about fundamental freedoms, we need to continue to unmask groups such as TMV as the Islamic supremacists that they are.   

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