News / Europe

British MP: Muslim Prejudice 'Socially Acceptable'

Britain's Conservative Party co-chairman, and Minister without Portfolio, Sayeeda Warsi arrives for a cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London (File Photo).
Britain's Conservative Party co-chairman, and Minister without Portfolio, Sayeeda Warsi arrives for a cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London (File Photo).

A member of the British government said Thursday that prejudice against Islam has become socially acceptable in Britain. Baroness Warsi spoke as the country's Home Office blocked a U.S. preacher from entering Britain. Pastor Terry Jones caused outrage last year when he made plans for his church to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of September 11. 

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is the first Muslim woman to sit in a British government cabinet. Speaking on Thursday, she said prejudice against Muslims in Britain had become socially acceptable - she said it had “passed the dinner-table test”.

Warsi spoke to the BBC before giving a speech on the subject. She said more needs to be done to turn the tide.

"This is about drawing a line as to the state of anti-religious hatred or bigotry in Britain today," she said.

Warsi said Muslims are regularly divided into “moderate” or “extremist” and she said this attitude is patronizing. Much of the blame, she said, is with Britain’s media.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life there are almost three million Muslims living in Britain - around 5 percent of the population.

Anne Gray, from the London-based Campaign Against Criminalizing Communities, agrees that prejudice against Muslims is rife in Britain. But she says this socially accepted stigma is tied to attitudes within the government.

She highlights Britain’s controversial “stop and search” policing policy, which human rights groups say target ethnic minorities unfairly.

"The stop and search policy I think is a harassment of Muslims," she said. "When the police seek to defend it, it is again on the grounds that some degree of ethnic or cultural profiling is appropriate from what they know about where terrorists come from.

"A major worry," she says, "is the emergence of the English Defense League, a far-right political group in Britain that opposes the spread of Islamism in Britain.

“We've seen the English Defense League phenomenon go up in the last couple of years, which is beginning to target Muslim communities as the alien 'other' with the notion that they are antagonistic to British values and I find that extremely unfortunate and very unjustified.”

The English Defense League recently invited a controversial U.S. pastor to speak at an event in Britain. Pastor Terry Jones sparked widespread protests around the world when he called on his American church to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of September 11. On Wednesday Britain’s Home Office said Jones will not be allowed to enter Britain because the government opposes all forms of extremism.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid