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20 January 2011

Islamophobia has become “socially acceptable”, warns Warsi

Conservative chairman to argue that prejudice against Muslims has "passed the dinner-table test".

By New Statesman

The Conservative Party chairman, Sayeeda Warsi, will warn today that prejudice against Muslims has “passed the dinner-table test” and become socially acceptable in Britain.

In a speech at Leicester University, Warsi will also warn that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice. Warsi, the first Muslim woman to attend Cabinet, has vowed to use her position to wage an “ongoing battle against bigotry”.

The Tory chairman will reveal that she raised the issue of Islamophobia with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain last year, urging him to “create a better understanding between Europe and its Muslim citizens”.

But Warsi will also urge Muslim communities to be clearer about their rejection of violent extremists.

“Those who commit criminal acts of terrorism in our country need to be dealt with not just by the full force of the law,” she will say. “They also should face social rejection and alienation across society and their acts must not be used as an opportunity to tar all Muslims.”

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