…. The new research, conducted by Rob Ford and Maria Sobolewska of the University of Manchester, comes amid growing concerns about western hostility to Muslims after the Front National’s strong performance in regional elections in France and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US.
The academics asked the same questions both before and after the Paris attacks on 13 November. Before Paris, 33% of respondents agreed that ‘Muslims have a lot to offer British culture’, compared to 35% who disagreed. After Paris the proportion who disagreed remained the same, but an additional 2% agreed with the statement.
A similar modest increase in the proportion of tolerant respondents was shown in the responses to the statement ‘Muslims in Britain have respect for the way of life of others’. Before Paris, 23% of respondents agreed with that statement, compared to a far larger 53% who disagreed. After the Paris attacks, the positive proportion increased to 27%, whereas the proportion disagreeing declined to 51%. [The Guardian] Read more
After Paris: The surprising resilience of British attitudes
…. There have been many reports of abusive and hostile behaviour towards Muslims in the aftermath of the attacks, but those responsible are a tiny minority of the population, one whose hostility to Muslims may have predated the Paris atrocities.
Did Paris trigger a broader backlash against Muslims in Britain, and a shift towards more authoritarian or illiberal policies towards them? Thanks to unique new polling data collected immediately before and after the Paris attacks, we can give a firm answer to that question.
The answer is no. On a wide range of measures, we find no negative shift in public sentiment after Paris. In most cases, attitudes did not change at all. When they did change, positive shifts were more frequent than negative ones. While truly inclusive and tolerant principles are far from universal, they are resilient: the people who hold such principles mean what they say. They stick to their values under pressure.
Studying how people react to traumatic events such as terrorist attacks is hard to do, as such events are impossible to predict. To take advantage of any such shock to study the attitudes of resistance one must have, by chance, a survey looking at relevant attitudes in the field right before such an event occurs. We happened to be conducting a survey on democratic attitudes, including tolerance, preferences for surveillance and minority rights in the field with YouGov days before the Paris attacks. [YouGov] Read more