Saturday, October 28, 2006

Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe

Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe

Attitude resembles public opinion in Islamic nations
· British show greatest mismatch of feelings

Julian Borger in Washington
Friday June 23, 2006
The Guardian

Public opinion in Britain is mostly favourable towards Muslims, but the feeling is not requited by British Muslims, who are among the most embittered in the western world, according to a global poll published yesterday.
The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain.

The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year's London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice. Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France.
Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%).

By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a "notable exception" in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.

Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe. And on the whole, British Muslims were more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.

The Pew poll found that British Muslims are far more likely than their European counterparts to harbour conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks. Only 17% believed that Arabs were involved, compared with 48% in France.

There was general agreement that relations are bad, but Britons as a whole were much less likely than other Europeans to blame Muslims. More Britons faulted westerners (27%) than Muslims (25%), with a third saying both are equally responsible. British Muslims were less ambivalent. Nearly half blamed westerners. By comparison, in Germany and France both communities blamed each other in roughly equal measure.

Unlike the rest of Europe, a majority of Britons declared themselves sympathetic to Muslims offended by the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published in the European press last year. But most Britons said the outbreak of violence was the result of Muslim intolerance for western freedom of expression. Only 9% of British Muslims agreed with that view. Nearly three-quarters blamed the controversy on western disrespect of Islam.

While finding ample confirmation of the rift between Muslims and non-Muslims around the world, the poll did find some signs of encouragement.

"Confidence in Osama bin Laden has ... fallen in most Muslim countries in recent years," the survey concluded. That was particularly true in Jordan, where 24% expressed confidence in the al-Qaida leader, compared with 60% a year ago.

Support for suicide bombing has also plummeted in Jordan, Pakistan and Indonesia. In Pakistan now, 69% said the terrorist tactic was never justified, compared with 38% four years ago.

'More Muslims radicalised' in UK

Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK

BBC News


"Many British Muslims have a poor view of the West, survey concludes
A higher proportion of British Muslims are radicalised than those in several other major western European nations, according to a US research body.
Muslims in the UK are more likely to see a conflict between being devout and living in modern society than in France, Germany and Spain, it found.

Thousands of people in 15 countries were questioned for a poll for the American Pew Research Center.

In Britain 902 residents took part in the survey in April and May.

Of British Muslims taking part in the poll, 77% said the rise of Islamic extremism worried them.

However, almost a quarter thought suicide bombings and other violence against civilian targets to defend Islam were justifiable - though among these some stated that this was rarely the case.

Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, said: "British Muslims were the most radicalised."

The French Muslims were the most temperate, he said.

9/11 doubts

The Pew Global Attitudes Report found 47% of the British Muslims questioned said there was a conflict between being devout and living in modern society.

That compared with 36% of Muslims in Germany, 28% in France and 25% in Spain.

More than half of the British Muslims, 56%, believed Arabs were not responsible for the 9/11 terror strikes.

Some 69% ascribed three or more negative qualities to Westerners.

Only 47% of the German Muslims, the next highest figure among the European countries, were that critical.

In every negative characteristic they were asked about, British Muslims were the most likely to associated it with Westerners.

Some 67% saw them as selfish, while 64% attributed them with arrogance and 63% highlighted greed.

Another 57% thought Westerners were immoral, 52% said they were violent and 44% labelled them fanatical.

British Muslims were also the least likely to believe that Westerners were respectful of women."

"Suicide bombing

A total of 24% of the British Muslims questioned thought there were times when suicide bombing was acceptable.

That figure broke down into 3% who said it was often justifiable, 12% who said only sometimes, and 9% who thought it was only rarely acceptable.

In France 35% of Muslims thought suicide bombings were justifiable - often, sometimes or rarely. The figure was 21% in Spain just 13% in Germany."