Fewer than one in four people think Islam is compatible with British life, faith minister warns Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2267515/Baroness-Warsi-Fewer-people-think-Islam-compatible-British-life.html#ixzz2TNxWPx1u Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Fewer than one in four British voters believes Islam is compatible with the British way of life, the UK’s first Muslim woman Cabinet Minister reveals today.
Baroness Warsi will quote private police figures which show that more than half of race hate attacks in Britain are against Muslims as she condemns critics of Islam for peddling ‘hate’.
Lady Warsi sparked huge controversy two years ago when she said Britain’s approach to Muslims has made Islamophobia acceptable at middle class dinner parties.
But in a new speech today she accuses critics of Islam of being ‘un-British’ themselves by grouping ordinary Muslims with extremists.
The Minister for Faith and Communities reveals stark polling conducted by YouGov which found that just 24 per cent of voters think Islam is compatible with being British, while more than half disagree. Only 23 per cent say Islam is not a threat to Western civilisation.
An unrepentant Lady Warsi, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan, said that she was right to speak out before and will use the new evidence to warn that the ‘underlying, unfounded mistrust’ of Muslims is fuelling extremism.
In her speech to a group called Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks, which monitors violence against Muslims, Lady Warsi condemned politicians and the media for failing to do enough to combat negative views of Muslims.
‘When I said that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner table test”, I meant anti-Muslim sentiment had become so socially acceptable, it could be found even in the most civilised of settings.
‘I got a fair amount of stick for making that statement. 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 people are treated differently because they hold a different religious belief. It’s when a country turns a blind eye towards that discrimination.
‘And it’s when we allow a perception of a people to become so entrenched that extremists are able to capitalise on it. Because any form of prejudice, bigotry or discrimination is wrong. It’s unBritish.’ Lady Warsi will quote 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 are now against Muslims.
The police have never previously broken down hate crimes by individual religions.
And she will reveal the polling information for the first time to back up her case. It was commissioned by Dr Matthew Goodwin of Nottingham University – an expert in extremism.
Two years ago Lady Warsi was condemned for dismissing what many people saw as legitimate criticism of Islamist extremism.
But she will said that it is her critics, not her, who are to blame for boosting extremists.
‘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 said.
‘I don’t have to remind anyone what happens when an unfounded suspicion of one people can escalate into unspeakable horror.’ Baroness Warsi said more should be done to promote Muslim role models such as Olympic hero 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 said.
‘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 conclude by condemning those who say Muslims are unpatriotic, citing research among Muslims that showed 83 per were proud to be British, compared to 79 per cent of Britons overall.
And she said that both her grandfathers fought for Britain during the Second World War.
‘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