UK Muslims ‘more loyal than most’

Muslims in the UK are more likely to identify strongly with Britain and have confidence in its institutions than the population as a whole, a poll suggests. The survey says they are also more likely to take a positive view of living side-by-side with people of different races and religions.

The majority of Muslims do not believe the veil is a barrier to integration – unlike most of the wider population.

Gallup interviewed 500 Muslims and 1,200 members of the wider population. The full results of the survey – described as the most comprehensive poll on Muslims and non-Muslims to date – will be published later this week.

Fifty-seven per cent of the Muslims polled said they identified strongly with their country, compared with 48% of the general public. Muslims were also more likely to express confidence in the police (78% to 69%), national government (64% to 36%), the justice system (67% to 55%) and elections (73% to 60%).

Nearly three-quarters of the Muslims said they felt loyal to the UK, and 82% said they respected other religions. But just 45% of the wider population said Muslims living in the UK were loyal to the nation, and only 55% said they were respectful.

The poll found the general public were more likely to prefer living in a neighbourhood made up mostly of people who shared their religious or ethnic background (35%) than Muslims were (25%).

Only 13% of British Muslims said they believed that women removing the veil was necessary for integration, compared with 55% of the wider population.

BBC News, 15 April 2007

Reported in the Sunday Telegraph under the headline “Muslims will not waver over veils”.

Update:  See “European Muslims show no conflict between religious and national identities”, Gallup, 26 April 2007