Terrorist Attack: New Zealand - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:46 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Conservative 6:46 pm, 18th March 2019

My Lords, I add my voice to the sentiments of all three Front-Benchers. Does my noble friend agree with the comments made by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, who described those who co-opt Christian language in their hate and speak about a Europe of Christendom against Muslims as “blasphemous”? Does she also agree that, despite numerous mentions of Christianity, biblical teachings and crusade references in the manifesto and act of the New Zealand terrorist, we do not believe this to be a Christian terrorist, nor do we believe that Christianity and Christians are to blame?

I hear my noble friend’s sentiments about being shocked, but does it surprise her that I am neither shocked nor surprised by this act? It has been a long time coming. Many of us have warned the House about the rise of Islamophobia. Therefore, would my noble friend consider some real action to come out of this tragedy? I do not necessarily expect an answer today, but will she take back and consider the Government adopting the definition of Islamophobia as detailed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims? That definition has now been adopted formally by the Liberal Democrats and is being considered and supported by the Labour Party. The party in government is the only party refusing to accept it.

Will she also ask her department to end its policy of disengagement with British Muslims, which has now been in place for more than a decade? Will she send out an unequivocal message that Islamophobia will not be tolerated in politics, specifically not by the party in government? We can do that by ending the culture of denial in our party and instigating an independent inquiry.