The only Muslim in the United Kingdom’s cabinet says Britain should be more Christian.
Writing in the daily newspaper the Telegraph, Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi suggested Christians have no reason not to be proud of their religion — and declared that having a strong faith identify could help people to better understand people of other faiths.
“We need to create a country where people don’t feel like they have to leave religion at the door. That means being proud of Christianity, not downgrading it,” she said. “It means encouraging people to say that their faith inspires what they do. It means supporting religious charities in delivering public services in schools, hospices and rehabilitation.”
“Lady Warsi’s message will be assuring to many Christians who have felt under increasing pressure in recent years to keep their faith private,” observed the Christian Todaywebsite, “while others have perceived a tendency towards respect for Muslims and intolerance towards Christians.”
Warsi went on to recommend that Christians should not feel they have to water down their faith. It is a “mistake to assume that you compromise your identity the more you try to understand others,” the British politician advised. “The stronger your understanding of your neighbor, the stronger your own religious identity becomes. For many years, I have been saying that the stronger we are as a Christian nation, the more understanding we will be of other faiths. It is why the Pope’s visit was so important for our country. And it is why I am proud that this year, for the first time, the Prime Minister held an Easter reception in Downing.”
The baroness is a unique personality in British politics. She is a practicing lawyer and the co-chairman of Britain’s Conservative Party.
She is a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet, the first female Muslim in such a position. A Yorkshire native born to Pakistani immigrants, she is the daughter of the founder of a bed manufacturing company. She has said her father’s success led her to adopting Conservative principles.
She ran for Parliament in 2005 and lost in in a tough campaign. In 2007 she was appointed Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and received the title “Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury.”
In 2007, she travelled to Sudan in Africa with liberal politician Lord Ahmed, and secured the release of a British citizen in the “Sudanese teddy bear blasphemy case.” A British citizen teaching at Unity High School had been jailed for insulting Islam after allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.
Gay rights campaigners have criticized her for opposing the lowering of the homosexual age of consent from 18 to 16 in 2000. She accused lib erals of “allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships” and said that homosexuality was being peddled to children as young as seven in schools.
In another incident, she went on record saying that the anti-immigration British National Party has “some very legitimate views. People who say ‘we are concerned about crime and justice in our communities – we are concerned about immigration in our communities.’”
In 2009 she was pelted with eggs by a group of Muslims who accused her of not being a proper Muslim for supporting Britain’s sending troops to Afghanistan.
In 2010 during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to England, she accused British liberals in the Labor government of regarding religion as “essentially a rather quaint relic of our pre-industrial history. They were also too suspicious of faith’s potential for contributing to society — behind every faith-based charity, they sensed the whiff of conversion and exclusivity,” she said. “And because of these prejudices they didn’t create policies to unleash the positive power of faith in our society.”
“Take it from me,” she writes in her column in the Telegraph, “there is nothing incompatible about a world of many religions and a world of strong, vibrant nation states.”