UK: 'moderate'/'extremist' labels foster prejudice, says Muslim minister

UK: 'moderate'/'extremist' labels foster prejudice, says Muslim minister

Via Daily Telegraph:

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.


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.


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’.”