DEWSBURY-BORN peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi courted controversy during a round of talk show interviews as she promoted her new book this week.
The former chairman of the Conservative Party caused outrage when she claimed that the man who carried out last week’s Westminster terror attack was a “violent Christian long before he was a violent Muslim”.
Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people and injured 50 in London last Wednesday before he was shot dead by police.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Baroness Warsi criticised the government’s counter terrorism strategy, stating it was wrong to focus only on Islam.
She said: “One of the questions I’ve asked for a couple of years is what actually makes a violent jihadi? What makes a terrorist?
“My argument has consistently been that the government has been obsessively focussed on just just one – which we refer to as Islamist ideology.”
The former parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury also said it was unfair to say that all Muslims had a responsibility to root out extremists.
“There has been a narrative that says Muslim people know who these people are,” she said.
“And not only do they know them but they’re condoning them and sheltering them.
“I think what we’ve seen in the terrorist attack last week is it’s incredibly difficult (to predict).
“This is a man who was born in a Christian home, born in a fairly comfortable home, seemed to be living a fairly good lifestyle, was popular.
“He then got involved in criminality and didn’t convert to Islam until later in life. So he was a violent Christian long before he was a violent Muslim.
“I’m not sure any of the people who were growing up with him, indeed his own family, would have known that he would go on to commit such an extremist act.”
Baroness Warsi also said that people of other religions were guilty of carrying out terrorist attacks. She said: “People always want to find a cause. Nobody’s going to say ‘I am an extremist or a terrorist, I just want to commit violent acts, because that’s the kind of violent man I am’, which clearly Khalid Massod was.
“They want to try and find an air of respectability as justification for it.
“If you go back to the GBH he was convicted of in early life there’s some suggestion that the argument he presented in court was that he had been racially abused. His violent act was based upon his racial identity. People will always find a grievance.”
Baroness Warsi had been doing a number of publicity appearances to promote her new book ‘The Enemy Within: A tale of Muslim Britain’ in which she details her experiences of being a Muslim in the UK.
The 46-year-old former lawyer grew up in Dewsbury, where she stood for the Conservatives in the 2005 General Election.
After she lost to Labour’s Shahid Malik in a bitter campaign, she was raised to the peerage by David Cameron in 2007 and served as Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion before resigning n 2014.