Baroness Warsi: Islamophobia is 'widespread' in Britain

Islamophobia is "widespread" in Britain, a former Tory cabinet minister has said.

Baroness Warsi said the situation was "far worse" now than in 2011, when she argued prejudice against Muslims had "passed the dinner-table test".

She described Islamophobia as the country's "bigotry blindspot" as she gave evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

The committee held the session to examine the scale and impact of "anti-Muslim sentiment" in the print media.

Baroness Warsi said: "There is widespread Islamophobia across Britain and anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-Muslim discrimination.

"Specifically with the press, I could spend hours giving you case after case after case."

In 2011 Baroness Warsi claimed that prejudice against Muslims had become widely socially acceptable in Britain.

Then Conservative Party chairwoman, she said: "You could even say that Islamophobia has now passed the dinner-table test."

On Tuesday Baroness Warsi told the Committee she believed she had "touched a raw nerve" when she made the speech.

Assessing the situation seven years on, she said: "I think things are far worse.

"That was seen as quite a stark statement to make in 2011. It now seems like a very timid statement seven, eight years on.

"It gives me no comfort to say that I think things are far worse."

She added: "I think Islamophobia is Britain's bigotry blindspot.

"I think we still fail to see it in the way that we see other forms of discrimination."

Last year there were warnings of an unprecedented anti-Muslim backlash in the wake of terrorist attacks.

Police in London recorded a spike in the number of Islamophobic incidents after the London Bridge atrocity in June.

Figures obtained by the Press Association indicated hate crimes targeting mosques and other Muslim places of worship across the UK had more than doubled year-on-year.

Police forces recorded 110 hate crimes directed at mosques between March and July 2017, up from 47 over the same period in 2016.

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