The Muslim Times is intellectually leading the way to refute Islamophobia and racism
31 per cent of the population believe that Islam poses a threat to the British way of life. These viewpoints thrive among white people who have lower levels of education, but there is a huge problem with middle-class Islamophobia too
By Rosie Carter; @@Rosiecarte
Source: The Independent Voices
It has been eight years since Baroness Warsi declared that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner table test” in Britain. Sadly, anti-Muslim prejudice remains a huge problem in the UK.
Despite steady, incremental liberal shifts in public attitudes, Warsi’s comments – that Islamophobia was not limited to “those who display their bigotry overtly, but also those who do so more subtly in the most respectable of settings: middle-class dinner tables” – are just as relevant today.
Statistics show that that people continue to see Muslims distinctly differently from other religious groups, with 18 per cent of the public holding extremely negative views of Muslims. Although there has been a small decrease in the number of people who consider Islam a serious threat to Western civilisation (44 per cent down from 52 per cent in July 2017), a huge 31 per cent of the population believe that Islam poses a threat to the British way of life and only 32 per cent believe that Islam and the British way of life are compatible.
So why do people feel this way? Alarmingly, the most popular responses seem to highlight an association between Islam and a ban on free speech, as well as a threat to British laws and values. 41 per cent of people who think Islam poses a threat to the British way of life say so because they feel that “Islam breeds intolerance for free speech and calls for violent actions against those who mock, criticise or depict the religion in ways they believe are offensive”. Meanwhile over a third (36 per cent) who think Islam poses a threat to the British way of life say so because they feel that “Islam seeks to replace British law with Sharia law”.
Anti-Muslim prejudice is concentrated among those who see immigration and multiculturalism most negatively, most likely among white people who have lower levels of education.
However, there is a huge problem with middle-class Islamophobia too. Recent polling revealed a crisis of Islamophobia among Conservative party members – with a staggering 60 per cent believing that “Islam is generally a threat to Western civilisation”. According to research from Queen Mary University of London, 86 per cent of Tory members are middle class and 97 per cent are white, whereas only 54 per cent of Britons are middle class, and 87 per cent white.
But middle-class Islamophobia is not restricted to the Conservatives. We also find anti-Muslim prejudice among people who generally have otherwise liberal and tolerant attitudes. For example, a quarter of Guardian readers think that Islam poses a serious threat to Western civilisation, while 14 per cent think that Islam poses a threat to British culture and 18 per cent believe the conspiracy that there are no-go zones where sharia law dominates and non-Muslims can’t enter.