What do British Muslims really think? – Negative Muslim Reaction

What some Muslims think of ‘what British Muslims really think’

…. Some Muslims have expressed their weariness at these regular enquiries about their opinions, which they believe may be motivated by a desire to demonise them in the eyes of the non-Muslim population or to portray Muslims as a community with a single homogeneous opinion. But others believe these surveys are an important way of raising difficult and important questions about divides within society.

This whole debate has been re-opened by a new poll, but this time some Muslims have chosen to use humour to respond to findings which they feel are not representative of their attitudes.

Commenting on the results, Trevor Philips, former head of the Equality & Human Rights Commission, told the newspaper: “I thought Europe’s Muslims would gradually blend into Britain’s diverse landscape. I should have known better.”

But in an apparent attempt to prove him and the poll findings wrong, some British Muslims are taking to Twitter to highlight what they have in common with their countrymen – a sense of the ridiculous, and an appreciation of the banal aspects of everyday life. A Conservative politician, Baroness Warsi, the former Minister of State for Faith and Communities, kicked it off. [BBC] Read more

What do Muslims really think? This skewed poll certainly won’t tell us

…. the question here implies that, whatever your Muslim neighbours may tell you, don’t believe them. Phillips, formerly head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said as much in a Sunday Times article last weekend: apparently the pollsters wanted to ensure the respondents did not “disguise the answer that you think will be all too disturbing for people from a different culture to hear”.

Phillips, who also wrote in yesterday’s Daily Mail, claims this poll, undertaken by ICM, supports his belief that there is “a chasm” opening between Muslims and people of other faiths, and therefore that Muslims are different and apart from the rest of society. He claims it reveals “the unacknowledged creation of a nation within the nation, with its own geography, its own values and its own very separate future”. In his view, this means “we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism”.

This is not the first time polls have been used to paint a picture of Muslims as at variance with British culture

But when there are 13 Muslim MPs, a British Muslim candidate for mayor of London, a Muslim dragon in the Dragons’ Den, and a Muslim winner of the Great British Bake Off, it seems that in reality, Muslims are very much part of British society. There is a fringe minority, as is the case with all communities, but Phillips chooses a distorted interpretation of the UK’s diverse Muslim communities. [Miqdaad Versi, 2130 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 587 votes] The finding come as no surprise at all for very many of us at the sharp end, but probably horrify the Guardianista class who seem so keen to foist their multi-culti ‘vision’ down the troats of those who were never consulted in the first place.

[2ND 502] As the author suggests the poll may be skewed to a certain extent but it is still disheartening to discover that over half the Muslim population wishes homosexuality to be declared a criminal offence!

[3RD 485] And no mention of sharia courts. If Muslims truly have a sense of belonging then why the insistence on a parallel legal system?

In no other segment of British society do so many people define themselves primarily by their religion. It is that which is driving division and cannot be laid at the door of the rest of the population.

[4TH 463] When I walk around Manchester and see women in the Niqab and Burka the truth of this self-segregation becomes apparent.

[5TH 457] Frankly I don’t give a damn about what muslims think. They either obey our laws, or remove themselves to another country.

[6TH 445] “But when there are 13 Muslim MPs, a British Muslim candidate for mayor of London, a Muslim dragon in the Dragons’ Den, and a Muslim winner of the Great British Bake Off, it seems that in reality, Muslims are very much part of British society.”

I’m not sure a Muslim winning Bake Off is of much statistical significance, and much of this article suggests the author has his head firmly in the sand. I take the point that poorer and more religious communities may have been over-represented in his polling, but even if the attitudes Phillips found are only representative of these areas, then we still have a major problem.

[7TH 441] So varied that the MCB declared that no Muslim should have to refer to the Ahmadi as Muslim? How reasonable, how liberal?! [Guardian Cif] Read more

Are British Muslims really “a nation within a nation”?

…. On polygamy, Phillips observes, “One in three British Muslims supports the right of a man to have more than one wife, even though it is illegal in the UK. While the support for such a policy is strongest among older Muslims, they are nearly matched in their enthusiasm for polygamy by young Muslims aged 18 to 24.”

What the polling fails to take into consideration and what is entirely absent from Phillips’ analysis of the results is why polygamy may be more attractive to Muslims. In her research on Muslims’ personal relationships, Dr Fauzia Ahmed explains the choices facing young Muslim women who opt for a polygamous relationship: “Many educated British Muslim women are experiencing difficulties finding suitable matrimonial matches. For some, the prospect of sharing a ‘quality’ husband is preferable to remaining single.”

Polygamy may, for some, be a response to pressing social need and not, as Phillip suggests indicative of “antediluvian” views about women among Muslims.

…. The fact that a former Lord Chief Justice and Archbishop of Canterbury have also espoused views on the likely introduction of aspects of shari’ah law in the UK is glossed over and the poll results presented to reinforce the article key claim that Muslims are living as a “nation within a nation”.

Given the legal status of shari’ah councils in the UK, under the Arbitration Act and analogous to the status of Jewish Beth Din courts, it is tendentious to report Muslim preferences for shari’ah in a manner devoid of the wider social and legal context. As Anjum Anwar states: “What I eat is according to my sharia, how I pray is according to my sharia, how I dress is according to my sharia, how I treat the stranger and family members is according to sharia. I think people misunderstand the concept of sharia law. Their only thinking is, uh-oh, once you’ve got the sharia you’ll be chopping heads off and hands off. That is not the case.” [MEND] Read more

Not all British Muslims think the same – whatever Channel 4 might claim

…. After the programme aired I was called “an apologist for extremists” – which I found hugely amusing. I don’t think I talked about extremism at all. I was criticised for even agreeing to participate. But I had felt being a part of the conversation was more productive than ignoring it altogether. Let the liberal Muslim voice be heard (for a change).

Despite all the negative output and divisiveness it stirred up, despite all the critique and quarrelling, despite all the Twitter trolling, the Facebook abusing, the pointing and laughing (occupational hazard), I stand by my very first contribution on the documentary: “It’s a privilege that we get to live in a country, the UK, which lets us practise our belief. And I firmly take this as a privilege. Muslim people, we can go to the mosque, we can pray, we can dress the way we want to … we’ve got halal food pretty much everywhere. What a time to be alive!”

I made my points. Antisemitism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. Misogyny is wrong. Surely in 2016 people can just take that as given? British Muslims are good people, so don’t buy into the scaremongering. Britain is better than that. [995 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 347 votes] Part 94 in the Guardian’s “Islam is so amazing” series

I really don’t get it. Why is this religion held up on a pedestal so much? What is so great about it?

[2ND 327] “How can it be possible that the views of 1,000 odd people can prove something about an entire community?”

That’s the whole concept of doing surveys and polls. They don’t claim to be foolproof, but they do generally give a broad-strokes indication of something that would otherwise be impossible to quantify.

As you say, you’re on the liberal end of the scale – so why get so defensive when someone talks about the less-liberal end of the scale? Why does that not merit discussion?

[3RD 302] Personally I believe the polls were properly conducted and accurate. They were defended pretty convincingly in this letter to the paper:<a href=http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/12/our-survey-of-muslims-was-as-thorough-as-can-be

All facts are friendly. A poll, properly carried out, cannot be “phobic” or “scaremongering”. It is simply a snapshot of the reality. Yes, the results might be worrying and these results were, although they were not surprising IMO. Are you suggesting the results should have been concealed because they were disturbing? Or that these questions should never have been posed in the first place?

We’re being “othered”.

No, some British Muslims are “othering” themselves by choosing not to integrate as previous waves of migrants have done. It’s great that you do not do this and that you are not antisemitic or misogynist. Unfortunately – as the polls have shown – many of your co-religionists are. There is no point in blaming Channel 4 for reporting what is there. [Guardian Cif] Read more

iERA Responds to ICM Survey: ‘What Do British Muslims Really Think?’

…. It is understandable that a significant number of Muslims would hold normative views enshrined in the Islamic source texts, the holy Qur’an and the Prophetic teachings but this should not be conflated with indicators to radicalisation or terrorism.

Numerous academic studies and analysis by security officials have proven that religion is not the sole driver to violence, rather it is found to be a contributing factor to a host of personal grievances and external realities.

iERA would like to take this opportunity to remind Muslims living in the UK, that as adherents of Islam, we have a duty to carry the compassionate, rational, and peaceful message of Islam to the wider society, and not isolate ourselves from non-Muslims, who have a right for this message to be conveyed to them correctly.

Muslims are a people who desire for humanity what they desire for themselves, and that is attaining the Divine love and mercy of Allah by enjoining in all that is good and forbidding evil in its entirety. [iERA] Read more

What a Bristol Muslim actually thinks about Channel 4’s What British Muslims Really Think

The Bristol Muslim Cultural Society’s project manager Rizwan Ahmed has shared his views on the Channel 4 show What British Muslims Really Think, and revealed how there are a few more pressing matters at hand…

As a British Muslim What Do I Think….

I don’t normally like to get political but seeing this furor around this whole “What British Muslims Really Think” programme and survey which I realised (after some very deep thought and pondering and philosophical thinking for all of two seconds…) was about as representative of what I think as a British Asian Muslim as Nigel Farage is to Race Equality.

After thinking about it for a few more moments I realised that at the moment as a nation we sort of have a few other more pressing social matters to worry about…

Some of these are – in no particular order and also not exhaustive list:

1) A housing crisis with severe shortages of affordable homes up and down the country.

2) Problems with a struggling NHS and striking Doctors.

3) The elderly who were once the backbone of our country and spent decades supporting the UK through their hard sweat, blood and tears now being abused and neglected in some so called “care homes”. [Western Daily Press] Read more

Thank you Trevor Phillips, you’ve made me much more radical than before

…. I have repeatedly said that I as a Muslim am not interested in “assimilation” but I’m fully integrated in my country as a Muslim.

How else could I – as a headscarved Muslim woman – walk into somebody else’s sacred space (Blackburn Cathedral) and survive for ten years?

However, that doesn’t mean that I will not challenge certain unjust policies of my government whether that be Prevent, or international policies impacting local communities, such as what’s happening in Palestine or Kashmir. Or for that matter a lack of religious and political leadership in my own faith community, or local politicians who rule their communities through divisive policies.

What really came through the documentary for me was that the only way to be fully “integrated” into our society was to accept “certain chosen” liberal, democratic values. Well, as I have often said I have no issues with “certain values” as long as those values do not contradict God’s laws. When I was asked about homosexuality for the documentary I stated clearly that the act of homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and I am driven by my faith values. But that doesn’t mean that we can become judge and jury and harm those on the streets who are homosexuals. [5Pillars] Read more

Trevor Phillips’s flawed poll will do nothing to help integration

…. Is integration a one-way process? No, integration is a two-way process where there are cross-influences from both cultures and compromises from all sides to integrate the minority culture into the majority culture. If communities maintain their identities and live peacefully alongside each other by accommodating each others’ viewpoints surely that’s integration? Moreover, perhaps addressing issues affecting integration like education and job discrimination and socio-economic deprivation is what needs to be done.

I could go on but I won’t because there is much a bigger point that is being overlooked. Why was there a need for the poll in the first place?

This is the question that sincerely needs to be asked. Why are Muslims repeatedly being questioned about their thoughts and religious beliefs? And this is where as a British Muslim I worry we are sleepwalking towards assimilation which is one-directional and relies on minority communities giving up on their beliefs and cultures in order to be accepted. In this case to fit in with so-called “British Values.”

Perhaps if Philips had asked what ideas, concerns and expectations Muslims have (ie what Muslims “really” think) instead of telling us what we should think, then that may have been the start of a constructive dialogue to promote integration. [5Pillars] Read more

What British Muslims really think about Channel 4’s show

We asked British Muslims to review Channel 4’s show: What British Muslims Really Think. Here’s what they said:

If there was a show titled “what do British – insert characteristic here – really think” it would sound judgemental and discriminatory. Muslims aren’t one block of consciousness; Pakistani Muslims often have differing views to Arab Muslims, African Muslims often have differing views to Malaysian Muslims and so on. What kind of Muslims did the sample consist of? Sunni, Shia? Hanafi, Hanbali? Deobandi or Barelwi? To use only 1081 Muslims as a sample to represent 3 million Muslims is inflammatory, misleading and dangerous.

…. It was claimed that Muslims are homophobic, misogynistic and that they wish to impose ‘sharia law’. I’m not denying that these elements exist but more emphasis should have been made on the possible cultural background to these views; many rural communities in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh do have a culture of accepting polygamy and not accepting non-heterosexual relationships.

Perhaps a comparison with the views of other non-Muslim first generation migrants and, or rural communities would have been helpful in order to show that the programme wasn’t just targeting one religion. [The Guardian] Read more

6 Things Wrong With Trevor Phillips Latest Crusade

This week, it’s Trevor Phillips. He’s come to tell us ‘What British Muslims Really Think’. Thanks Trev, but no thanks. I, and other British Muslims, can quite confidently and competently express ourselves. Note the word really too, which gives off the air of Muslims hiding their true intentions and nature, almost like a subversive fifth column.

Trevor Philips latest Channel 4 documentary reeks of a particular kind of condescending and dog-whistle sensationalism, and as many others have pointed out over the past day alone, it’s full of problems. Rather than re-invent the wheel, here is a recap of what Trevor gets wrong. [On Religion] Read more

‘Active integration’ actually means forced assimilation of British Muslims

Predictably, the mainstream media did not hang about in cherry-picking the most “controversial” and de-contextualised findings pertaining to Sharia law, homosexuality, Prophet Muhammad, polygamy, and Muslim perceptions of Jews, whilst ignoring the following:

• 94 percent of Muslims feel that they can practice their faith freely in Britain

• 86 percent of Muslims feel that they belong in Britain

• 83 percent of Muslims condemn all forms of terrorism

• 85 percent of Muslims condemn suicide bombings

• 73 percent of Muslims oppose ISIS

But the Muslim community’s 15 years’ experience as experts in condemning terrorism did not prevent the main protagonist pushing a seemingly divisive narrative on national television.

The former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Trevor Phillips, was given the responsibility to analyse the poll’s results, and he concluded that Muslims living in Britain were a “nation within a nation” – a problematic choice of words on his biased reading of a survey with a number of methodological flaws. [Middle East Eye] Read more