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Baroness Warsi Slams Media For Fuelling Anti-Muslim Hatred

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WARSI
PA

Baroness Warsi will hit out at the media for spreading negative stories about Islam on Thursday, arguing it must share the blame for a rise in hate crimes against Muslims and for "fuelling Islamophobia".

In a speech in London this evening, the minister for faith and communities and senior Foreign Office minister will say there is an "underlying, unfounded mistrust" among many Britons towards Muslims as well as a "misinformed suspicion of people who follow Islam".

Warsi will make the comments at a dinner held by Mama, a new government-backed group dedicated to measuring and monitoring anti-Muslim attacks.

The former Tory chairman will cite recent YouGov polling data that revealed just 23% of those asked thought Islam was not a threat to Western civilization.

"Perhaps most disturbingly, nearly half of people polled thought there would be a clash of civilisations between and Muslims and other Britons,” she will say.

Warsi will also say that early indications are that 50-60 per cent of reported religious hate crimes in 2011 were anti-Muslim.

"Sadly, much of this negative narrative is being perpetuated by certain sections of the media," she will say.

“Lord Justice Leveson’s report event revealed journalists were encouraged to make up stories about Muslims. And concluded that the unbalanced reporting of ethnic minorities was endemic.”

Warsi’s speech comes two years after her infamous "dinner-table test" speech in which she said prejudice against Muslims had become socially acceptable in the UK.

Downing Street distanced itself from the then Tory chairman, claiming it had not cleared the speech before key lines were briefed to the media.

Warsi who lost her job as chairman in the September reshuffle, will defend her 2011 comments and return to the theme, arguing it is her duty to counteract negative perception 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,” she will say.

"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.”

She will warn Britain is danger of turning a "blind eye" towards discrimination and that "any form of prejudice, bigotry or discrimination is wrong" and "unBritish".

Warsi will add: "An attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths. And an attack on faith is an attack on freedom.

"It’s a matter for everyone who cares about Britain being the modern, equal, fair society that we want it to be. After all, anti-Muslim hatred is a form of prejudice. And there should be no place in Britain for this prejudice."

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