Baroness Warsi: Muslims have moved faster than Tories on gay rights

The former Chair of the Conservative Party Baroness Warsi has weighed in on gay rights after a poll showed overwhelming opposition among British Muslims.

The ICM poll of 1000 Muslims was commissioned last week for Channel 4’s ‘What British Muslims Really Think’.

Just 18% of Muslims surveyed agreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, while 52% said it should be banned.

Nearly half (47%) said they would not be happy with a gay person being a teacher, while they were also overwhelmingly opposed to equal marriage.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the former Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister of State for Faith and Communities, challenged the conceptions that Muslims are moving slowly on the issue,

She said: “There is social conservatism, maybe even social intolerance, but most religious communities on the issue of homosexuality have been on a journey on this.

“So has my own party, so has the Church of England.

“But our community in Britain is 50 or 60 years old – we have moved faster than my party, which has been around much longer, or the Church.”

She added: “The Muslim community is conservative in its views, but that is no different to most other religious communities.

“If you compare attitudes to a group of evangelical Christians or Hasidic Jews you would find similarities.”

Baroness Warsi herself previously used overly homophobic language in campaign leaflets – claiming in 2005 that an equal age of consent and the abolition of Section 28 allowed “schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships”.

She later claimed equal marriage would negatively impact faith groups.

However, she conceded she was “on the wrong side of history” about the issue and admitted she had been “wrong” in the past.