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Britain's Labour Party Suspends Anti-racism Campaigner Accused of Islamophobia

File photo of Trevor Phillips. (Image: Reuters)

File photo of Trevor Phillips. (Image: Reuters)

Trevor Phillips, who has headed several high-profile public bodies including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said he had been suspended after he suggested Muslims were 'different'.

London: Britain's opposition Labour party has suspended an anti-racism campaigner over accusations of Islamophobia, the activist revealed on Monday.

Trevor Phillips, who has headed several high-profile public bodies including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said he had been suspended after he suggested Muslims were "different".

The former broadcaster told BBC radio: "They say I've accused Muslims of being different. Well, actually, that's true. The point is Muslims are different and in many ways, I think that's admirable.

"We cannot continue to simply say differences don't matter, it's a form of disrespect."

The Times newspaper reported that Phillips, 66, was being investigated by Labour over comments about Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing children in northern English towns, which has become a tinderbox issue in British politics.

He is also under investigation for remarks concerning the failure of some Muslims to wear poppies during Remembrance Sunday, an annual event to commemorate the UK's war dead.

Racism claims have rocked Labour in recent years, including in the run-up to last December's general election when it was routinely accused of anti-Semitism.

Phillips was among several public figures who said they would not vote for Labour because of the issue.

In response, Labour said it could not comment on individual cases but said in a statement that "it is understood" Phillips had been suspended.

It added: "The Labour Party takes all complaints about Islamophobia extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken."

first published:March 09, 2020, 18:25 IST