Statsråd uten portefølje og leder av det konservative partiet, baroness Warsi, kritiserte torsdag britene for å være for generaliserende overfor muslimer. Islamofobi er akseptert ved middagsbordet, påsto hun.
Hun mente feks at bruken av ordene moderat eller ekstrem om muslimer var farlig, og innebar sin egen dynamikk, hvor man hele tiden forholdt seg til radikalisering. Men baronessse Warsi sa ikke hvilke begreper man burde bruke.
Kritikken leder uvegerlig tanken mot tankepoliti, for det er hele tiden feil ord som resulterer i feil holdninger, som om folk ikke er i stand til å tenke selv.
Islamophobia has “passed the dinner-table test” and is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial, Baroness Warsi will say in a speech on Thursday.
The minister without portfolio will also warn that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice.
Lady Warsi, the first Muslim woman to attend Cabinet, has pledged to use her position to wage an “ongoing battle against bigotry”.
Her comments are the most high-profile intervention in Britain’s religious debate by any member of David Cameron’s government.
They also confirm the Coalition’s determination to depart from its Labour predecessor’s policy of keeping out of issues of faith.
Lady Warsi will use a speech at the University of Leicester to attack what she sees as growing religious intolerance in the country, especially towards followers of Islam.
A recent study estimated there are now around 2.9 million Muslims in Britain, up from 1.6 million in 2001.
Some religious and social commentators have suggested that growth in numbers gives rise to legitimate concerns, asking whether strict adherence to the faith is compatible with the values of Western democracies.
Some Christian leaders have also said that Britain has become less tolerant of their faith during the same period.
In response, Lady Warsi will blame “the patronising, superficial way faith is discussed in certain quarters, including the media”. The peer will describe how prejudice against Muslims has grown along with their numbers, partly because of the way they are often portrayed.
The notion that all followers of Islam can be described either as “moderate” or “extremist” can fuel misunderstanding and intolerance, she will say.
“It’s not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of ‘moderate’ Muslims leads; in the factory, where they’ve just hired a Muslim worker, the boss says to his employees: ‘Not to worry, he’s only fairly Muslim’.
“In the school, the kids say: ‘The family next door are Muslim but they’re not too bad’.
“And in the road, as a woman walks past wearing a burka, the passers-by think: ‘That woman’s either oppressed or is making a political statement’.”
A decade of growth in the British Muslim population also saw the first al-Qaeda attacks on British soil and Lady Warsi will address the issue of terrorism and extremism.
Terrorist offences committed by a small number of Muslims must not be used to condemn all who follow the faith, she will insist.
But she will also suggest that some Muslim communities must do more to make clear to extremists that their beliefs and actions are not acceptable.
Baroness Warsi kommentarer virker å være døv for debatten som foregår spesielt på nettet, der folk etterlyser reaksjoner fra muslimske miljøer på radikalisering og terrorisme. I stedet får de høre at det er de som skaper problemer.
De konservative har inntatt en kebab-politikk a la norske Høyre, og forsøker seg med en moraliserende tone. Men problemene er av en slik karakter at pekefinger ikke hjelper.
Tory chief Baroness Warsi attacks ‘bigotry’ against Muslims
Prejudice against Muslims has become widespread and socially acceptable in Britain, the Conservative chairman will claim.