The man behind the Westminster terror attack was a “violent Christian long before he was a violent Muslim”, Dewsbury-born peer, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, has said.
Khalid Masood, 52, killed five people and injured 50 in London last Wednesday before he was shot dead by police.
Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 on Sunday, Baroness Warsi, a former Tory cabinet member, criticised the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
Baroness Warsi, who grew up attending a mosque in Savile Town, Dewsbury, said it was wrong to only focus on Islam.
She said research on terrorism had found anything between 15 to 28 tell-tale signs of people who were potential threats.
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 focused on just one – which we refer to as Islamist ideology.”
Asked by Marr how the security services should track down terrorists, she responded: “There has been a narrative that says Muslim people know who these people are.
“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 on 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.”
Marr asked Baroness Warsi why it seemed violent drug taking men converted to Islam.
“They don’t convert to evangelical Christianity or Hinduism, they choose Islam,” he claimed.
But Baroness Warsi said there were people around the world who were evangelical Christians and Buddhists, who committed extremist acts.
“People always want to find a cause,” she said.
“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 Masood 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 to court was that he had been racially abused.
“His violent act was based upon his racial identity.
“People will always find a grievance.”