Majority of Conservative members believe Islam a threat to British way of life: Poll

Majority of Conservative members believe Islam a threat to British way of life: Poll
Majority of Conservative members believe Islam a threat to British way of life: Poll

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Majority of Conservative members believe Islam a threat to British way of life: Poll

LONDON: A majority of Conservative Party members in the UK believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life, a new poll has found.

The Opinium poll surveyed 521 members of the country’s ruling party about the UK’s second-largest religion, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

Compared to the overall population, respondents were twice as likely to view Islam as a threat to the British way of life, with 58 percent agreeing with the statement.

Just over half of respondents — 52 percent — believe the false claim that sections of European cities are subject to Shariah law and are effectively “no-go zones” for non-Muslims.

It comes amid a growing row within the Conservative Party over Islamophobia, with MP Lee Anderson having been sacked last week after claiming that Islamists had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, a Conservative MP, also drew controversy after writing in the Daily Telegraph last week that “the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now,” referring to pro-Palestine protests that have been held across the UK in the wake of Israel’s war on Gaza.

Conservative members are twice as likely — compared to the overall population — to have a negative view of immigrants, Opinium found.

About three-quarters of respondents said they believe that immigration has been bad for the UK and multiculturalism is failing.

Nick Lowles, founder of Hope Not Hate, an anti-racism group that commissioned the poll, said: “It’s clear from the events of the past week that Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment run deep in the Conservative Party — but this poll illustrates the problem starkly.

“Based on the views of Conservative members, it’s clear why Anderson, Braverman et al feel increasingly emboldened to push the boundaries of decency and speak negatively of Muslims, immigrants and multiculturalism more generally.

“The battle for the soul of Conservative Party has begun, and so far the radical right is winning.”

The poll findings suggest that views within the party have hardened in recent years. A 2020 poll, also commissioned by Hope Not Hate, found that 47 percent of Conservative members agreed with the statement that Islam is a threat to the British way of life.

The party was cleared of allegations of institutional Islamophobia in 2021 as part of an inquiry known as the Singh Review, but critics have questioned the scope of the investigation.

Sajjad Karim, a former Conservative member of the European Parliament, told The Guardian: “I can go back to about 2012 or 2013 when I first started to detect some of this type of talk. We haven’t got here suddenly. But the party really has to get a grip of it now.”

He added: “(The Singh review) ended up sending a signal to the party membership that was basically ‘Muslims are fair game.’”

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