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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid