British Muslims have more faith in UK than Britons, study finds

London, UK - British Muslims identify with Britain far more than the general public and have more confidence in the country’s institutions, according to research published today.

The results of the survey, which showed that 77 per cent of British Muslims were loyal to Britain compared with 36 per cent of the general public, challenge a perception that the community is less patriotic than the country at large. It also recorded that the community had more confidence in British courts, elections, financial bodies and the media than the general public. The survey showed that more than eight out of ten thought that their fellow British Muslims were loyal to the country, but only 36 per cent of the general public did.

The report, by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation , a charity dedicated to promoting understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims, re- ported that confidence in the military was the only area where British Muslims scored less than the general public. The authors said: “Since 9/11 and the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, mistrust towards European Muslims has become palpable. Significant segments of European societies openly express doubt that Muslim fellow nationals are loyal citizens.

“The general construct of this premise rests on an oversimplified and erroneous understanding of Islam and terrorism.”

The study did highlight the huge gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims on issues such as homosexuality, abortion and sex outside marriage.

According to the report, The Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Study of Interfaith Relations , all British Muslims believe that homosexual acts are not morally acceptable compared with six out of ten of the general public. Muslims in Britain took a tougher line on the issue than those anywhere else in Europe. In France, 35 per cent of Muslims said that homosexual acts were acceptable, and in Germany 19 per cent.

Other findings were: on abortion, 55 per cent of the British public said it was acceptable, compared with 5 per cent of Muslims; on viewing pornography, 35 per cent of the public thought doing so was acceptable, compared with 1 per cent of Muslims; on sex between an unmarried man and woman, 82 per cent of the public said that it was morally acceptable, compared with 3 per cent of Muslims; on suicide, 32 per cent of the public said it was morally acceptable, compared with 2 per cent of Muslims.

The report said that among all groups surveyed, the most religious were at least as likely to condemn the use of violence for a noble cause. There was no statistical correlation between religious and non-religious respondents when it came to the moral justification for targeting civilians.

Gallup surveyed more than 1,000 members of the public by telephone and carried out more than 500 face-to-face interviews with Muslims living in areas where the Muslim population was more than 5 per cent.