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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 October 2006, 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK
Galloway raises Islamophobia fear
George Galloway
George Galloway has attacked Jack Straw for his veil comments
Islamophobia is a problem that must be addressed, MP George Galloway has told his Respect party's annual conference in North London.

Mr Galloway's speech focused on the treatment of Muslims in Britain.

He singled out Jack Straw, who sparked a row when he revealed he asks Muslim women wearing veils to his surgery if they would consider removing them.

Mr Galloway said Mr Straw had joined "the Dutch auction in New Labour of who can be most beastly to a minority".

Following criticism about his comments from some Muslim groups, Mr Straw defended his position, saying that he felt full-face veils were a "visible statement of separation".

But Mr Galloway said: "Everybody with a brain knows the reason why Jack Straw got down and dirty and scraped the bottom of this filthy barrel was to join the Dutch auction in New Labour of who can be most beastly to a minority - a minority which is already beleaguered and anxious in this country.

"And it's a disgusting, ugly sight and sound to see or listen to."

Mr Galloway addressed an anti-Islamophobia rally in Euston on Saturday afternoon, where he reiterated comments made by the party's national secretary, John Rees, that anti-Muslim racism was the last "respectable" form of racism in British society.

Mr Galloway, the member for Bethnal Green and Bow, founded Respect in 2004 soon after he was expelled from Labour for encouraging Arab armies to resist the invasion of Iraq by British and US troops.

The party claims it will be fielding more than 150 candidates at local elections in May next year.


SEE ALSO
Respect holds Islamophobia rally
13 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Muslim teacher defends her veil
14 Oct 06 |  Bradford
Straw in Blackburn after veil row
13 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Straw met by applause - and boos
13 Oct 06 |  UK Politics

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