Former party donor Banks lambasts ‘war on Muslim religion’
A UKIP spokesman resigned his position yesterday in protest against the party’s policy of banning the burka.
West Midlands MEP James Carver quit as foreign and Commonwealth affairs spokesman, arguing that the ban was “incompatible” with representing all his constituents.
The previous day, party leader Paul Nuttall had also unveiled a policy that would force girls suspected of being at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) to undergo physical examinations.
These examinations would take place annually and also whenever the girls returned from holiday, he said.
This policy is an addition to Ukip’s new “integration strategy,” which also calls for a ban on sharia law.
Ukip was also criticised yesterday by multimillionaire former party donor Arron Banks for going “entirely the wrong direction” into a “war” with Muslims.
“I don’t approve of the war on Muslim religion,” he said in response to the announcement of the policies.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) slammed the “bigots” for targeting minority groups in the run-up to the June general election.
It said the strategy was “deeply regrettable” and criticised the stereotyping of Muslims around “bombs, beards and burkas.”
Mr Nuttall was mocked by journalists after he announced the policies. They asked him whether beekeepers, wearers of big hats and brides with veils would also come under the face-covering ban.
Ukip deputy leader Peter Whittle later branded the questions “ridiculous” and confirmed that the policy would only affect burkas.
He tried to defend the discriminatory polices by saying: “The burka is not something in the Koran, it’s not specified by the Koran, it’s a cultural practice. FGM is a cultural practice.”
But the MCB said the policies would target all Muslims without distinction.
Its general secretary Harun Khan said Ukip would be “singling out Muslims in the most negative terms.”
He added: “Together with fellow Britons, Muslims will be looking for true leadership that unites our country during this time of uncertain transition and seek to represent all British people, and certainly not scapegoat some.
“Bigots must not be allowed to set the terms of the debate. “Due to the scourge of terrorism that we all oppose, bigots are obsessed with sharia law, keen to question our loyalty to our country and refuse to accept us Muslims as equal citizens of this nation.
“We Muslims insist that our story is one of faith, freedom and fairness.”