Baroness Warsi: Fewer than one in four people believe Islam is compatible with British way of life

 

Fewer than one in four people now believe that following Islam is compatible with a British way of life, Britain's most senior Muslim minister will warn today.

Highlighting unpublished research showing that a majority of the country now believes that Islam is a threat to Western civilisation Baroness Sayeeda Warsi will say that “underlying, unfounded mistrust” of Muslims is in itself fuelling extremism.

And she will cite new figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers showing that between 50 to 60 per cent of all religious hate crimes reported to police in Britain are now perpetrated against Muslims.

“My fear is that seeing one community as the ‘other’ is a slippery slope that will enable extremists to advance their twisted interests unchecked,” she will say.

“I don’t have to remind anyone what happens when an unfounded suspicion of one people can escalate into unspeakable horror.”

Two years ago Baroness Warsi, who has responsibility in Government for faith and communities, was criticised claiming that Islamophobia in Britain “had passed the dinner table test”.

But in her speech to a support service for those who have suffered anti-Muslim attacks Baroness Warsi will say new data supports the evidence of widespread anti-Muslim feeling in the UK.

She will cite new research by academics that shows that just 23 per cent of a representative sample questioned said that Islam was not a threat to Western civilisation.

Just 24 per cent thought Muslims were compatible with the British way of life – with nearly half of people disagreeing that Muslims were compatible.

This compares with research among Muslims that showed 83 per were proud to be British, compared to 79 per cent of Britons overall.

“When I said that Islamophobia had ‘passed the dinner table test’ I got a fair amount of stick,” she will say.

“There were those who denied the problem existed. There were those who said talking about it was dangerous. But let me tell you what’s really dangerous: It’s when a country turns a blind eye towards that discrimination.”

She said preliminary figures from the Association of Chief Police officers found that between 50 to 60 per cent of religious hate crimes were now perpetrated against Muslims - amounting to hundreds of attacks a year.

But Baroness Warsi will warn that not enough leadership is being given by politicians to tackling Islamaphobia and misconceptions about Islam in the UK.

“Anti-Muslim hatred is a form of prejudice and there should be no place in Britain for this prejudice,” she will say.

“It would be a more powerful message from a non-Muslim, someone for whom this is not personally painful.

”The fact is that everyone should have an interest in this issue.

“It’s not just a matter for Muslims or a matter for people of faith. It’s a matter for everyone who cares about Britain being the modern, equal, fair society that we want it to be.”

Baroness Warsi said more work needed to be done highlighting Muslim role models such as Mo Farah.

“To those who say that there is a conflict of being loyal to Britain and a Muslim, you have to look no further than Mohamed Farah,” she will say.

“Our national hero is a practising Muslim. The double gold medallist saw no conflict between crossing the finish line in the Union Flag and dropping to the ground in prayer.

”In fact, he showed how seamlessly religion and patriotism can go together.“

She will also cite Muslim like her own family - who fought alongside British soldiers in both world wars.

”Thousands of Muslims from the Commonwealth fought alongside the Allies in both the world wars. These patriots fought and died for the freedoms we all enjoy today.

“People like my two grandfathers who fought for this country long before my parents came to its shores.

And you will therefore understand why I will not take lessons on loyalty from those on the extreme right who demonstrate the ideology of intolerance – the very fascism that my grandparents fought all those years ago.”

It’s a matter for everyone who cares about Britain being the modern, equal, fair society that we want it to be.“

Baroness Warsi will pledge further Government support for combatting all types of Muslim discrimination and restore Britain's reputation for tolerance.

”Let’s prove that we once again can rise to the challenge and stamp out this new and rising form of prejudice. There should be no place in Britain for this prejudice.“

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Invoicing Clerk

£14500 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are contractors to...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Administrator / Marketing Assistant

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of packag...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales - OTE £30,000

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a rapidly expanding offi...

Recruitment Genius: Support and Development Engineer

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The leading provider of Employee Managem...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy