More than half of the British public now regard Muslims as a threat to the UK, far more than in the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 Islamic terrorist bombings in London a decade ago in 2005.
These numbers will only continue to rise unless officials immediately enact measures to stop all muslim immigration into the UK.
HUFFPOST UK The poll question specifically precluded “fundamentalist Islamist groups”, meaning those polled were asked to focus on the religion as a whole.
The research, conducted by YouGov, also showed that more than three quarters of people surveyed – 79% – believe another attack on the scale of 7/7 in Britain is likely. And the figures reveal there has been a large decrease in the proportion of people who think multiculturalism benefits Britain.
The poll was conducted to mark the start of The Huffington Post UK’s Beyond The Bombings series, which revisits 7/7 on the 10th anniversary to explore how Britain has changed in the years since.
The suicide attacks killed 52 victims and injured nearly 800 others when four bombs went off at Edgware Road, Aldgate and near Russell Square Tube stations, and on a bus in Tavistock Square.
The research found 56% of people think Islam is a “major” or “some” threat to Western liberal democracy – a notable rise from just 46% of people who said the same thing in a poll taken the day after the attacks on London’s transport network on July 7, 2005.
Taken before the recent beach massacre which killed at least 30 British tourists in Tunisia, it reveals a marked rise in negative attitudes towards Muslims.
Over a quarter of people (27%) said they saw Islam as a “major threat” to Western liberal democracy, a jump from 19% who said the same in a YouGov poll conducted on the day after the 7/7 bombings.
The new poll also reveals a decrease in proportion of people agreeing that most British Muslims were “peaceful, law- abiding citizens who deplore terror attacks in the name of Islam”. Just a fifth of people (20%) said this phrase applied to “practically all” Muslims, and 60% said it applied to most Muslims, a decrease from 23% and 64% respectively 10 years ago.
More people – 15% – now agree with the statement that “a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to this country” and are prepared to “condone or even carry out acts of terrorism”. A decade ago, only 10% of people agreed with this statement.
Miqdaad Versi, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told HuffPost UK the survey did not surprise him, as he had seen evidence hostility towards Islam in this country was rising.
When asked if there had been an increase an anti-Muslim attacks in Britain, he said: “There no strong data to justify that but anecdotally, yes. More people are coming in to say, talk to me personally about hostility they face.”
He added: “A friend of mine is a teacher. A Muslim child went home to his father and asked ‘are you a terrorist?’ because he had a big beard. Another friend of mine wears a facial covering and was on her way home when harassed and verbally assaulted on the train. She didn’t know what to do. Nobody intervened to help or support her.”
He said abuse and harassment was the work of a minority of people but said hostility to Muslims had “passed the dinner table test” of acceptability. “It’s just something can say. I think it’s become a lot more mainstream.
Support for (Muslim) multiculturalism has plunged, the poll suggested, with just 37% of those asked feeling that it made Britain a better place to live, but 38% said it make the country worse.