Muslim Voters and the European Left | Foreign Affairs

The refugee crisis has highlighted a strategic problem for Europe’s left: how to approach immigration and immigrant voters without driving away their working-class base.

The central problem for the European left is this: the largest and fastest-growing groups of immigrant voters originate from Muslim-majority countries and often bring with them the socially conservative traditions of their homelands. This comes just as left-wing parties have rebranded themselves as champions of secularism, cosmopolitanism, and feminism in order to appeal to their increasingly liberal middle-class base.

Yet vote-based inclusion presents problems of its own. Seduced by the allure of the Muslim bloc vote, left-wing party leaders turn a blind eye to the controversial stances adopted by Muslim candidates and their supporters on subjects such as religious education or the treatment of women and girls. (This tradeoff is not unique to the political recruitment of European Muslims but applies to religious minorities in liberal, secular democracies more generally.)

Muslim women in Birmingham recently lodged an official complaint with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, alleging that Muslim male politicians, with the complicity of the local Labour Party, have for years engaged in “systematic misogyny” and smear campaigns against Muslim women who aspired to be political candidates.

Source: Muslim Voters and the European Left | Foreign Affairs