Sectarian violence has become a global crisis, Baroness Warsi warns

Faith and Communities Minister Baroness Warsi has called on people of all religions to do more to tackle hatred and end persecution.

Speaking at Georgetown University in Washington DC, she said sectarianism was becoming the leading reason for conflict in the world, with “faith forming the fault lines” under a “global crisis”.

Baroness Warsi warned that attacks on Christians in the Middle East had precipitated a “mass exodus on a Biblical scale”.

“In some places, there is real danger that Christianity will become extinct,” she claimed.

Britain’s first Muslim cabinet member, Baroness Warsi said she was worried by the rise of Islamophobia and called for society to use the experience of fighting to “defeat the scourge of antisemitism” to tackle anti-Muslim hatred.

Examples of Jews and Muslims historically working together to challenge persecution could be applied to current problems, she suggested.

“There are those who insist on an unbridgeable divide between Jews and Muslims. But they forget about the Righteous Muslims, from Albania to Tunisia, who risked their lives to shelter Jews during the Holocaust.

“And they ignore the fact that Jews helped the Bosnian Muslims to rebuild their lives after the Balkans war and genocide in Srebrenica.

“Accepting and co-existing with another faith doesn’t make you less of a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu – it makes you more of one.”

The world had woken up to the fact that “persecution is bad for business” and that religious freedom could help economies and societies flourish, Baroness Warsi concluded.

Last updated: 8:35pm, November 20 2013