Vast majority of British Muslims ‘do not sympathise’ with suicide bombers, survey shows

The survey is one of the most in-depth studies of British Muslim sentiment

Will Worley@willrworley
Monday 11 April 2016 00:04

A total of 96 per cent of British Muslims do not sympathise with those who take part in suicide bomb attacks, a survey has revealed.

The vast majority also show similar levels of support to the wider British public in support for British institutions and a feeling of belonging to Britain.

However, in terms of some social attitudes, there were a number of significant differences compared to the rest of Britain.

The survey of 1,081 British Muslims, commissioned by Channel 4, is representative of the entire UK population and more accurate than other polls because it was carried out face-to-face and avoided going through umbrella organisations, the broadcaster said.

A striking majority showed a firm rejection of violence committed in the name of Islam. Ninety-six per cent of those surveyed did not have sympathy for suicide bombers and people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest. A large majority – 77 per cent – did not support introduction of Sharia law. However, seven per cent said they would strongly support it.

In terms of less theologically charged subjects, there were also encouraging responses. A huge majority (91 per cent) of British Muslims felt a strong sense of belonging to their local area – far higher than the national average of 76 per cent of Brits. In addition, 88 per cent of British Muslims thought Britain was a good place for Muslims to live and 86 per cent felt a strong sense of belonging here.

Apart from Islamic schooling and some laws, 78 per cent of British Muslims would like to integrate into British life.

However, there were some results that were less in step with the wider population. A majority of 52 per cent did not believe that homosexuality should be legal in Britain and 47 per cent believed it was unacceptable for homosexuals to teach in schools.

Thirty-two per cent refused to condemn people who commit violence against people who mocked the Prophet. Of further concern will be the revelation that only 34 per cent of British Muslims would inform the police if they thought somebody they knew was getting involved with people who support terrorism in Syria.

In response to the survey’s findings, former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips said: “Hearing what British Muslims themselves think, rather than listening to those purporting to speak on their behalf, is critical if we are to prevent the establishment of a nation within our nation. Many of the results will be troubling to Muslims and non-Muslims alike – and the analysis of the age profile shows us that the social attitudes revealed are unlikely to change quickly.

“The integration of Britain’s Muslims will probably be the hardest task we’ve ever faced. It will require the abandonment of the milk-and-water multiculturalism still so beloved of many, and the adoption of a far more muscular approach to integration.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments