Attitudes survey calls Brits anti-Islamic

By Will Astbury

AN ATTITUDES survey has discovered that many Brits think negatively of Islam.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the annual British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey discovered that more than half the population believe that the country is divided along religious lines.

It also revealed that the majority of people would be concerned if a mosque opened near where they live  – when only 15 per cent of interviewees expressed similar views about a church.

“Opinion is divided and many people remain tolerant of unpopular speech as well as distinctive dress and religious behaviour, but a large segment of the British population is unhappy about these subcultures,” The Daily Mail quotes Professor David Voas, of the University of Manchester, as saying.

He claimed that the findings suggested that many Britons believed that the country’s “Muslim population presented a threat to national identity”.

The BSA survey, which interviewed almost 5,000 people, said that 45 per cent of people questioned felt that diversity benefited Britain. However, it claimed that only one in four Brits feel positively about Islam.

It is believed that the findings from this study, which will be released in full at the end of January 2010, will increase concerns that religious tensions are bubbling in Britain.

Anti-Islam groups have already begun to form in Britain and many commentators are drawing comparisons between theses groups and the British National Party (BNP).

Once such organization known as the English Defence League (EDL), which formed on 27 June 2009, protested in Manchester on 10 October 2009 and 50 men were arrested in connection with the protests.

The EDL is an organisation that claims to be against Islamic extremism in Britain and disputes that it has any connection with and fascism or the BNP.

It asserts that it welcomes people from any race or faith into the organisation and that it was planning a peaceful demonstration in Manchester city centre.

However, several local groups called for a ban on the EDL rally after earlier protests by the group in Luton and Birmingham resulted in serious public disorder and dozens of arrests by police. At the Birmingham event more than 90 arrests were made.

On these occasions, as in Manchester, it was not clear whether the violence was started by the EDL or by the individuals and organisations that oppose it.

Similarly, On 29 November 2009 Manchester Mouth reported that angry Mancunians had taken part in a vigil at Southern Cemetery, Barlow Moor Road, to protest about the fact that Muslim graves had been damaged for the third time in two months.

It is worrying that British society seems to be becoming less tolerant when its diverse cultural heritage is so great.

Lets hope that we are not pointing the finger at one specific group because we are dissatisfied with wider elements of society.

We need to be building better understanding and stronger links between communities and not judging people purely on their religious beliefs.

If you would like to find out more about the EDL protests in Manchester click here to see Manchester Mouth’s earlier coverage.

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One Response

  1. The backlash against Islam is encouraging militant secularism and inflicting collateral damage on Christianity: http://seanrobsville.blogspot.com/2010/01/collateral-damage.html

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