ComRes has conducted a poll on Islamophobia for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association. It produced some interesting results.
Asked who they thought was “most to blame for Islamophobia, fear of Islam, in the UK”, 29% of respondents replied that it was the media, while 14% blamed Muslims abroad, 13% far right political groups and 10% politicians and government.
Only 11% held Muslims in the UK to be most to blame for Islamophobia – which, considering the campaign of demonisation waged by the right-wing press against the Muslim community, is lower than you might have anticipated.
Unsurprisingly, given that they have been on the receiving end of that campaign, the poll found that a much larger proportion of Muslim respondents – 53% – believed that it was the media who were mainly responsible for Islamophobia.
There was also an interesting difference here based on age, with 40% of those aged 18-24 blaming the media, compared with 18% of those 65 or over.
Asked whether “the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, justifies the use of violence against non-Muslims”, only 14% agreed, while 65% disagreed and 20% didn’t know. Only 9% of 18 to 24-year-olds agreed and 75% disagreed. Again, those results are reassuring, given the efforts made by the media, the far right and certain politicans to associate Islam with violent extremism.
Overall, these figures give the likes of the EDL little cause for optimism. Their campaign of abuse and intimidation against Muslims will no doubt continue, but most of the public – and an even larger majority of young people – appear to reject one of the central assumptions on which the far right’s anti-Islam offensive is based.
Nor does the poll provide good news for proponents of the view that Islamophobia is a myth. Only 1% of respondents replied that they “do not think that Islamophobia exists in the UK”.