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New Polling of British Muslims

Survation have carried out a new telephone poll of 1,003 British Muslims on behalf of The Sun. This follows up on an earlier Survation poll in March 2015, seeing how questions of Islamic identity in the UK and attitudes toward foreign policy in the Middle East have changed over the last year.

Our polling found that for most Muslims in the UK, 76%, their sense of British and Muslim identity are equally important to them. Only 3% feel that it “is not important for British Muslims to integrate into British society”, suggesting this is important for the overwhelming majority of Muslims. 61% feel that British Muslims “are doing enough to integrate into British society”, while 22% of Muslims feel they should be doing more.




In contrast, when we polled the general population with the same questions earlier in the year, we found that 57% of non-muslims in Britain felt that British Muslims were not doing enough to integrate into British society.




Just over half of Muslims in the UK (51%), feel that it is the responsibility of Muslims to condemn terrorist acts carried out in the name of Islam, unchanged since March. In March 67% of non-Muslims thought it was the responsibility of Muslims to condemn such acts.

30% of British Muslims felt that Islamic leaders in the UK have not publicly condemned ISIS enough, compared with 8% who felt they had condemned ISIS too much. The largest group, 37%, felt there had been about the right level of condemnation. Muslims were divided on the root causes of ISIS terrorist attacks, with 38% feeling that Western foreign policy was the largest single factor, while 25% were more inclined to say that it was ISIS leaders exploiting vulnerable young people. Only 6% thought that poverty and discrimination against Muslims was mostly to blame.

A clear majority of British Muslims, 71%, say they have “no sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria”. 5% had “a lot of sympathy” and 15% had “some sympathy”. These figures represent a significant drop in sympathy since March, from 8% and 20% respectively. In total 8% fewer Muslims have any sympathy for Muslims leaving for Syria than they did in March.



Interestingly, when we polled the remainder of the British population in March, 4% of non-Muslims expressed “a lot of sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria” and 9% expressed “some sympathy”, suggesting that attitudes held by the Muslim and non-Muslim populations are not that different.



The poll also found that only 19% of British Muslims thought David Cameron was right in wanting to extend bombing from Iraq to Syria, compared with 56% who felt that was the wrong decision.

Survation polled 1,003 British Muslims between 18th-20th November 2015 by telephone. Full data tables are here. Comparison figures are of 1,001 British Muslims polled 10th-16th March 2015 (tables here) and 1,001 non-Muslims polled 16th-20th March 2015 (tables here).


Patrick Brione

Patrick Brione

Director of Research 2012-2016

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