Baroness Warsi attacks bigotry
Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi is due to give a speech today asserting that Islamophobia is now seen by many in Britain as ‘normal and uncontroversial’.
The leaked speech has sparked a torrent of comments across the media led by the Telegraph who reports that, “The minister will warn that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice.
That she has pledged to use her position to wage an “ongoing battle against bigotry”, and describes her comments as ‘the most high-profile intervention in Britain’s religious debate by any member of David Cameron’s government’.
And adds that ‘Lady Warsi will use a speech to attack what she sees as growing religious intolerance in the country, especially towards followers of Islam’.
Lady Warsi will speak about the “the patronising, superficial way faith is discussed in certain quarters, including the media”; And will describe how prejudice against Muslims has grown along with their numbers, partly because of the way they are often portrayed.
She will say that the notion that all followers of Islam can be described either as “moderate” or “extremist” can fuel misunderstanding and intolerance.
Explaining, “It’s not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of 'moderate’ Muslims leads; in the factory, where they’ve just hired a Muslim worker, the boss says to his employees: 'Not to worry, he’s only fairly Muslim’.
“In the school, the kids say: 'The family next door are Muslim but they’re not too bad’.
“And in the road, as a woman walks past wearing a burka, the passers-by think: 'That woman’s either oppressed or is making a political statement’.”
Lady Warsi will also reveal that she raised the issue of Islamophobia with the Pope when he visited Britain last year, urging him to “create a better understanding between Europe and its Muslim citizens.”