What British Muslims Really Think: Poll Sparks Controversy


London: Many British Muslims do not share the values of non-Muslim fellow Britons on issues like homosexuality, according to a controversial poll that has sparked a debate about integration and multiculturalism.

The survey was conducted by the ICM polling institute for a Channel 4 documentary airing on Wednesday entitled “What British Muslims Really Think” and presented by anti-racism campaigner Trevor Phillips.

Out of the 1,081 respondents, 52 percent said they believed homosexuality should be illegal, compared to 22 percent of all Britons.

Thirty-nine percent believed women should always obey their husbands and 23 percent said Islamic sharia law should apply in areas with high Muslim populations.

“What it reveals is the unacknowledged creation of a nation within the nation, with its own geography, its own values and its own very separate future,” Phillips, a former television presenter, wrote in the Sunday Times ahead of the broadcast.

Phillips said the survey showed Muslim integration would be “the hardest task we’ve ever faced”.

“It will mean abandoning the milk-and-water multiculturalism still so beloved of many, and adopting a far more muscular approach to integration,” he added.

The poll has already stirred controversy, with many campaigners objecting to the singling out of Muslims.

“Discussions and proposals to promote integration and cohesion are always welcome,” Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, wrote in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday.

“But the starting point should not be that Muslims are the problem, ‘not quite British enough’, and must be civilised into a pre-existing notion of Britishness,” he said.

Varsi pointed to the poll’s finding that 86 percent of respondents said they were very attached to Britain and 78 percent said they wanted to integrate.