Monday, August 20, 2007

British Distrust Muslims More than Other Western Countries

The Financial Times features a story on a recent poll by Harris interactive in the US, UK, Italy, France and Spain. Among these 5 countries, Muslims are feared and distrusted in the UK more than any of the other nations:

Only 59 per cent of Britons thought it possible to be both a Muslim and a citizen of their country, a smaller proportion than in France, Germany, Spain, Italy or the US – the other countries polled by Harris Interactive.

British citizens were also the most likely to predict a “major terrorist attack” in their country in the next 12 months; to consider Muslims “a threat to national security”, and to believe Muslims had too much political power in their country.

However, on more personal measures of integration – having Muslim friends and accepting the marriage of their child to a Muslim – Britons showed more enthusiasm than some other countries.

Some might see the distrust of the British as a natural outgrowth of the tube bombings of July 2005, and the more recent attacks in Glasgow. However -- as in the US -- Islamic groups point to unfair media portrayals as the culprit:
The findings suggest that terrorist plots against the UK, including the London bombings of July 7 2005, have hardened British attitudes towards Muslims. Osama Saeed of the Muslim Association of Britain blamed the findings on what he called “a vicious campaign” by the press against the Muslim community.
When will such groups learn: it's the killings, stupid!

Update: They don't like or trust Muslims, and they're scared to death of offending them, it seems. Doesn't seem like much of a way to deter the threat.

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