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SPEECH AT THE WORLD ISLAMIC ECONOMIC FORUM

CHANGING WORLD

We are just 13 years into this young century.

And in that short time we have seen all the old economic certainties turned on

their head.

First, in terms of financial stability.

When we entered the third millennium, economic systems seemed sound, secure

and assured.

We thought financial crashes were just grim chapters in history books.

We were even told there would be ‘no return to boom and bust’.

And yet in 2008 we were plunged into the biggest recession since the Second

World War. Read more

Telegraph: Review of ‘I am Malala’

By Sayeeda Warsi

Malala Yousafzai’s story begins with her parents being commiserated with after producing a baby girl. In their part of northern Pakistan, she says, rifle shots ring out in celebration of a baby boy’s arrival. But there is no such fanfare for females; their destiny is to cook and clean, to be neither seen nor heard.

When Mr and Mrs Yousafzai were married, a small boy was placed on their laps to encourage the birth of a son. It didn’t work; their firstborn was a girl who ‘popped out kicking and screaming’. And that girl’s father was mocked by relatives for bothering to add her name to the family tree, which, of course, only featured men.

So how did Malala, who barely warranted a mention in her family’s genealogy, become destined for the history books, a powerful symbol for girls’ universal right to an education?

“I am Malala” tells us how. Read more

Guardian: This Ramadan we’ve shown Islam and Britishness are not incompatible

By Sayeeda Warsi

This week British Muslims and Muslims across the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr. After a month of fasting, prayer and reflection there was a time to celebrate and enjoy family meals. Ramadan has been tough this year – not just because of the long, hot summer days, but because of the recent string of attacks on Muslim communities and the shadow of the terrible events of Woolwich in May. Read more

Mail on Sunday: 11-rupee heroes who fought to keep us all free

By Baroness Warsi

Daddy, what did YOU do  in the Great War? So  goes the famous 1915 recruitment poster, aimed at coaxing fathers across Britain into joining up and playing their part in the ‘war to end all wars’.

One year before we mark the centenary of that conflict, which, of course, didn’t end all wars, we are starting to ask one another a similar question: what did YOUR forefathers do in the Great War? Read more

Independent on Sunday: Breaking bread and Islam myths

By Baroness Warsi

This weekend, mosques have been opening their doors to people of all faiths, and none, to share iftar, the meal Muslims have when they break their fast each evening during Ramadan. These events have been taking place in scores of community centres, living rooms, parks – even flash mobs – across the country.

It’s all part of the “Big Iftar”: a month-long opportunity to show Islam in practice. Read more

BBC Radio 2: Good Morning Sunday

Clare Balding, presenter: This is Good Morning Sunday and my guest this morning is Baroness Warsi, senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Minister for Faith and Communities.  She’s also a businesswoman, a lawyer, campaigner, and the first Muslim to sit in the British Cabinet.  But Sayeeda Warsi didn’t start life as a member of the establishment.  She’s one of five daughters born to immigrant parents from Pakistan, and I began by asking her how it was growing up as a Muslim in Yorkshire in the 1970s.

Baroness Warsi, Foreign Office Minister and Faith and Communities Minister: I think there were so many different influences in my life: faith was one of them.  But also, growing up in a strong, working-class home was another big influence.  Growing up in an all-female family was, again, incredibly interesting, and growing up with an incredibly opinionated father, a completely focused and driven mother, I think all these things played into the person that I became.

CB: And so what were they like?  What did your father and mother do?

BW: My mum was a traditional housewife; she ran everybody’s lives.  I mean, when they say ‘housewife’, it meant she dealt with everything from the finances to the school runs.  And dad just worked all the hours that he had, so he… when we were very young he was working in the mills.  Probably my clearest memories are when he was a bus driver, because his bus used to come and stop at the top of the road.  I’m sure it’s against every health and safety rule but we used to walk up to give him his lunch but he used to let us get on the bus and then drop us off on the way back.  And that was an adventure when we were growing up. Read more

Independent on Sunday: The centenary of WWI – ‘Tommies and Tariqs fought side by side’

It is vital that the role of Empire troops in the First World War is acknowledged, says Baroness Warsi

By Jane Merrick, Kashmira Gander
 
The contribution of 1.2 million soldiers from the Indian subcontinent and others from the Commonwealth who fought for Britain in the First World War must be recognised when the nation marks the centenary of the start of fighting next year, Sayeeda Warsi, the Communities and Foreign Office minister, says today. Read more

The Sun: Baroness Warsi backs Sun’s call to act

You won’t find a bigger supporter of the Sun’s ‘case against Choudary’ campaign than me. 

For years I’ve been saying that this nutter, and hate mongers like him, are poisonous and destructive.

My run-ins with Choudary go way back.

When I stood for Parliament in 2005, he and his mates from Al-Muhajiroun called me a ‘kafar’, a non-believer, because I strongly believed in democracy and politics.

In 2006 on Newsnight he accused me of not being a Muslim because I wasn’t wearing a veil.  

Three years later his mates pelted me with eggs and shouted obscenities at me in Luton as punishment for being a Muslim woman in a public role. 

What really riled me, though, was seeing this man on the box, the day after the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, trying to glorify and justify this terrible attack. 

It’s because I believe in free speech, that I believe in shouting people down rather than shutting them up – winning the argument, not banning the conversation.

Read more

Evening Standard: London can be Islam’s global financial centre

By Joe Murphy

London has a “golden opportunity” to become the global centre of the booming Islamic finance business, a Cabinet minister will say tonight.

Baroness Warsi wants the City to respond to the potential of a sector set to expand by £400 billion in the next two years, offering billions in earnings as well as funding for major infrastructure projects to benefit the country.

“It’s about making Britain the preferred choice for the Muslim world to invest in and do business in,” the senior Foreign Office minister will tell the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Islamic finance has already helped to fund some of the capital’s newest landmarks, including the Shard, the Olympic Village and redevelopments at Chelsea Barracks and Harrods.

“Each is a powerful reminder of the sector’s rapid rise and the importance of engaging with potentially lucrative new markets in the Muslim world and beyond,” the minister will say.

“It is not a silver bullet but it is a golden opportunity.” Read more

Weekly Zaman: “Extremists that do such things are not supported by Islam”

HAVVA MURAT, KATE O’SULLIVAN, LONDON

“Every religion has extremists and terrorists who will do things and will somehow find a religious basis upon which to do it, but what you do not do is tarnish the entire community off the back of it.” These are the words of Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, minister for faith and communities and senior minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Islamophobia is a key area of concern in the UK. This was highlighted in the recent tensions following the brutal murder of British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, when anti-Muslim groups took to the streets of London in protest. There have been concerns that the attack may cause a surge in anti-Muslim violence and create conflict between community groups. The English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP) have used the attack as an opportunity to promote their policies, which are widely believed to be discriminatory against Muslims and other ethnic minority groups. In response to the attacks, Baroness Warsi told Weekly Zaman: “Terrorists and extremists will fail in their objective to divide us. We will emerge a stronger and more united country from this tragic event and will not be divided by those who seek to cause unrest. It is heartening that we saw a resolute voice from the British Muslim communities to condemn these attacks and show their support for our armed forces.”

In 2011, Warsi said that Islamophobia in the UK had “passed the dinner-table test” in that it had become “socially accepted” in the most civilised of settings. Read more