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UK upper, middle classes 'more likely' to be Islamophobic

  • 26 Jan 2022

People from higher social groups are more likely to hold prejudiced views against Muslims, with 4.8 percent more likely to view Islam as “totally” literalistic than people from lower social grades.

More than 25 percent of the British public feel negative towards Muslims with almost 10% feeling "very negative", the study revealed. ( Reuters )

A recent study has found that middle-class and upper-class occupational groups in the UK are more likely to hold prejudiced views of Islam than people from working class occupational groups.

The analysis, published on Monday by the University of Birmingham and data analysis firm YouGov, discovered that the British public are more likely to hold discriminatory and negative views on Islam than on any other religion and a significant minority of this population hold incorrect and conspiratorial views on British Muslim communities.

People from higher social groups are 4.8 percent more likely to view Islam as “literalistic,” without interpretation, than other lower social groups.

“Prejudice towards Islam and Muslims stands out in the UK, not only because it is much more widespread than most forms of racism, but also because prejudice toward Islam is more common among those who are wealthier and well-educated,” said Stephen H. Jones, the lead author of the study.

The study revealed that the demographics of those most likely to hold such Islamophobic views and beliefs are among the elderly population, working-class, males, and those who voted to leave the EU as well as supporters of the Conservative Party under UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

According to the report, the non-Muslim British public is three times more likely to hold prejudiced views of Islam than they are of other faiths. 

Support for the prohibition of Muslim migration to the UK is 4-6 percent higher than it is for other religious and ethnic minority groups and British people are more confident in making incorrect judgments about Islam than other non-Christian faiths.

READ MORE: Islamophobia in Europe is at a 'tipping point', new report warns

Muslims second ‘least liked’ group

Muslims are the UK’s second ‘least liked’ group, after Gypsy and Irish travellers, according to the report. 

Just over a quarter of the British public harbor negative views towards Muslims with 9.9 percent feeling “very negative” towards them. In comparison, only 8.5 percent of the public hold negative views for Jewish people, 6.4 percent for Black people, and 8.4 percent for other white people of different nationalities.

The report further finds that over one in four people hold conspiratorial views on the so-called "Sharia no-go areas." 

'Threatening British way of life'

Some 26.5 percent agree that there are certain areas of the UK that operate under Sharia law and that non-Muslims are prohibited from entering. 36.3 percent agree that Islam threatens the British way of life. The vast majority of them are Tory and Brexit supporters.

As well as reporting on the scale of Islamophobia in the UK, the report also offered various recommendations to combat and offer solutions to anti-Muslim discrimination, including the public acknowledgment of Islamophobia by the government and equally higher public institutions.

“Government and other public figures should publicly acknowledge and address the lack of public criticism that Islamophobic discourses and practices trigger, and how Islamophobia stands out compared with other forms of racism and prejudice.”

The publication of the report comes shortly after accusations were levelled against the Tory party after Muslim minister Nusrat Ghani was sacked due to her “Muslimness” making other ministers uncomfortable

READ MORE: UK lawmaker says she was fired for being Muslim

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