Majority Britons Believe Islam Is Not Compatible With British Values

British Islam

One in three Britons believe Islam promotes violence in the United Kingdom, with 72 percent saying most people in Britain view the religion negatively. In a survey conducted by ComRes to assess Britain's attitude towards Islam, 2,012 people were chosen to represent the adult population on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The survey found only 32 percent of the respondents feel that Islam still promotes peace in the country. Overall, 56 percent disagree that Islam is compatibility with British values.

The results of the survey were revealed last month at a conference titled ‘Caliphate in the 21st Century’, which sought to understand the true nature of a caliphate and its significance in the 21st century. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which commissioned the survey, believes a caliphate is a peaceful and spiritual experience —something that opposes the Islamic State’s concept of a controlled political coup. It is this very disparity between the two definitions that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wanted to survey so as to better understand where the misconceptions about a caliphate truly stem from.

According to the Ahmadiyyas, a caliphate is a non-political setup that was established in 1908 following the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be a prophet. The Ahmadiyya caliphate has approximately 100 branches across Britain.

Farooq Aftab, national spokesperson of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, said, “The task of the Ahmadiyya Caliphate is to continue pursuing the peaceful objectives laid down by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, which is essentially to worship God and serve humanity. And so, under the guidance of the Institution of Caliphate, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has continued this work for more than one hundred years.”

Of the 2,012 people surveyed, 44 were Muslims. Of these 44, 25 percent strongly disagreed with the notion that Islam is compatible with British values while 17 percent agreed that the religion has in fact prompted acts of violence in the United Kingdom.

“As far as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is concerned we are engaging with our members on a daily basis through a range of initiatives such as education, recreational and sports to break down barriers and give members the true teachings of Islam. We have on a number of occasions said that in Mosques, Imams and leaders should use sermons to condemn ISIS. And make it clear that going to join them is totally wrong and against Islam.

Earlier this year, our spiritual leader, our Caliph, gave a speech to 5,000 Ahmadi youth and he said that those who are going to Syria and Iraq are being brainwashed. And he said clear that it is a totally ‘false Jihad’ – and so this is the message that needs to be conveyed – that this Jihad has no legitimacy. Muslim parents also have to play a role. They should answer the questions of their children openly (both about society and religion) - so no need to go on internet to find answers from extremists. Mosques should also encourage other activities such as sports so that Muslim youths can find bonding there – and not have to go to internet to find it or in worst case scenario join terrorist groups. This is something Ahmadiyya Community does,” Aftab said.

Of the 2,012 respondents, 41 percent said they have Muslim family members, friends or acquaintances while 52 percent said they do not; and five percent refused to respond at all. As 42 percent of all respondents said they have never heard of the word ‘caliphate’, 16 percent said they have but do not know what it means exactly. Of the 990 people who said they have heard of a ‘caliphate’ only one percent said they understand it as an Islamic State ideology since the terror group declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria in June 2014.

The survey also revealed how 78 percent respondents feel extremist views and actions expressed or carried out in the name of Islam by a minority unfairly affect the perception of Muslims worldwide. It concluded that elderly Britons are more likely to see Islam in negative light that those belonging to the younger generation.

Tom Mludzinski, director of political polling from ComRes added “This research illustrates relatively low awareness and understanding of a caliphate among British adults, as well as conflicting perceptions of Islam. For example, with Britons similarly as likely to agree that Islam promotes acts of violence in the UK as they are to agree that Islam promotes peace in the UK, it is clear that perceptions of Islam are mixed among the general public.”

Photo Credits: The Trivialist

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