There’s some interesting stuff buried in this ICM poll of British Asians aged 18-34, particularly on the vexed issue of “Britishness”, which has been used to accuse minority communities in general, and Muslims in particular, of a failure to integrate.
The question “Thinking about your nationality, to what extent do you feel British?” produced the following figures for those answering “completely” or “a lot”: British Asians – 59%; Whites – 73%. For those answering “a little” or “not at all”, the percentages were: British Asians – 38%; Whites – 26%.
This didn’t stop the BBC heading its press release “Over a third of British Asians don’t feel British” – which of course ignored the fact that over a quarter of white people evidently feel much the same way. Indeed, 38% of white respondents from Scotland said that they felt only “a little” or “not at all” British – exactly the same figure as that for British Asians.
Broken down on the basis of religious affiliation, the figures for young British Asians who feel “completely” or “a lot” British were: Sikh – 77%; Muslim – 64%; Hindu – 46%; Christian – 46%. The figures for British Asians who said they feel only “a little” or “not at all” British were: Christian – 52%; Hindu – 51%; Muslim – 35%; Sikh – 20%.
So it can be seen that, among young British Asians, Muslims in fact have a significantly more developed sense of British identity than either Christians or Hindus.
This did not prevent BBC News from running an article, headed “Many Asians ‘do not feel British’“, which featured a picture (subsequently removed) of two Muslim women wearing the niqab, reinforcing the perception that British Muslims are particularly lacking in a sense of “Britishness”.
See also Dave Hill’s post at Comment is Free, 31 July 2007