London: Following what she called "racist rhetoric" from Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi expressed concern for the safety of her family due to fears of a backlash against British Muslims, the Guardian reported on Thursday.
Warsi, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and the first Asian woman to lead the Conservative Party, criticised Braverman for her racially insensitive remarks regarding child abuse grooming gangs. Warsi was also the first Muslim woman to be appointed to the UK Cabinet.
Recently, the home secretary claimed that groups of "vulnerable, white English girls" were being "pursued and raped, drugged and harmed by gangs of British Pakistani men who've worked in child abuse networks."
On another occasion, Braverman claimed that British-Pakistani men who "hold cultural values totally at odds with British values, who see women in a demeaned and illegitimate way, and pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach in terms of their behaviour" were the primary perpetrators of gang-based sexual exploitation.
In response to her worries about the possible repercussions of Braverman's remarks, Warsi, who was appointed to the House of Lords by the Conservative Party in 2007, told The Guardian that she had advised her father not to walk home alone from the mosque.
She continued, "I've had to tell my son to just leave the situation if people start yelling and swearing to stop it from turning into an attack. "Why should I be talking to my son about these things?
If you look at the interviews she gave, she made no exceptions; in essence, Ms. Braverman claimed that group sexual exploitation is a problem in Britain and Pakistan. She never claimed that only a small minority of British Pakistanis were responsible for these crimes during those interviews.
"Suella Braverman must realise that when she speaks, she is doing so in the capacity of a home secretary. She cannot speak indecently. Her use of "shock jock" language is starting to become a pattern. It appears that she is more focused on the noise and rhetoric of a culture war than the actual work.
Warsi urged Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of the Conservative Party and a member of a Punjabi family, to forbid such racial remarks.
She told the Guardian, "I don't think Sunak shares Braverman's extreme views. He did not use the same language as Braverman in his own statement regarding government initiatives to combat child sexual exploitation, and he appeared uncomfortable when questioned about it.
But he bears all responsibility because he is the party's leader. He shouldn't want to be remembered for being the first prime minister from an ethnic minority background or for leading a government that used racist rhetoric.
The home secretary has made it clear that all reprehensible child abusers must be brought to justice, a Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian. And she is not afraid to speak the truth, especially when it comes to the failure of authorities for decades to properly groom young women and girls in Britain's towns.
"The vast majority of British Pakistanis are law-abiding, upstanding citizens, as the home secretary has stated, but independent reports were unambiguous that in towns like Rochdale, Rotherham, and Telford, cultural sensitivities have led to thousands of young girls being abused in plain sight of councils and police.
"To ensure that this horrific scandal can never happen again, and bring members of grooming gangs to justice for the victims," the statement continued, "we have announced a raft of measures, including a new police task force and mandatory reporting."