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Most British Muslims have strong attachment to Britain: report

Around 93 percent of British Muslims have a strong attachment to Britain [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2016

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A controversial Policy Exchange report found that while majority of British Muslims held strong connection to Britain, they also believe in "worrying" conspiracy theories.
Around 93 percent of British Muslims have a strong attachment to Britain but the majority of them believe in "worrying" conspiracy theories, a centre-right think tank report revealed on Friday.

Ninety percent of Muslims condemned terrorism and only 2 percent expressed sympathy towards political radicalism, a report by the Policy Exchange found.  

"Britain's Muslims are amongst the country's most loyal, patriotic and law-abiding citizens," MP Khalid Mahmood -also one of the authors of the report – said.

The study found that British Muslims shared the same concerns and priorities as the country's wider population, as opposed to having their own "Islamic concerns".

"British Muslims are, on a whole range of issues, no different in their views and priorities than their non-Muslim neighbours," Mahmood said.

The report found that British Muslim’s attitudes towards issues such as unemployment, immigration and the NHS were largely in line with the rest of the population.

Faith Matters – an NGO that works to promote community cohesion - told The New Arab that the findings are not new.

"The Policy Exchange report outlines what we have known," Fiyaz Mughal, director and founder of Faith Matters said.

"Muslim communities want to be part of social integration in the UK and many are also integrated and productive parts of society," Mughal told The New Arab.

Muslim communities want to be part of social integration in the UK and many are also integrated and productive parts of society
- Fiyaz Mughal, director and founder of Faith Matters

"Many have the same identical day to day concerns as everyone else," he added.

"We welcome the report on these points and organisations that seek to divide rather than bring communities are running against the grain of what is taking place."

Conspiracy theories

The report also found that a "startling" number of British Muslims believed in conspiracy theories.

"So many British Muslims seem ready to entertain wild and outlandish conspiracy theories about the way the world works, believing that dark forces are at work to ‘do us down' as Muslims," MP Khalid Mahmood said.

"From the attacks of 9/11, down to the more recent conflict in Syria, too many people seem ready to believe that these events are being deliberately organised and manipulated – whether by the American Government, Jews, or some other force – with the express intention of damaging Muslims."

The Muslim Council of Britain [MCB] rejected these findings, accusing the report of misrepresenting what were otherwise "promising results" from the poll.

A large minority of Muslims seem to agree that conspiracy theories often contain elements of truth, in line with the broader UK population
- The Muslim Council of Britain

The report "provided ample fodder to countless headlines demonising Muslims", the MCB said in a statement.

"There are some disturbing results in the poll that deserve further investigation.

"A large minority of Muslims seem to agree that conspiracy theories often contain elements of truth, in line with the broader UK population [40% vs. 37%].

"In addition, more British Muslims have conspiracy views about 9/11 in a proportion that is high and similar to results polling the US population on this issue."

As the Muslim Council of Britain, we will be meeting to discuss how to understand this problem properly so that action can be taken to challenge these worrying views."

The study – which was conducted in partnership with polling company ICM – surveyed just over 3,000 British Muslims across the UK.

According to a 2011 census, Britain is home to some 2.7 million Muslims, making up 4.8 percent of the British population.

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