Muslim attitudes – the real story

MayorA new survey released today by the Greater London Authority confirms that London’s Muslim communities shares common values and concerns with the wider community, repudiating the image of conflicting values portrayed by certain sections of the media.

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: “There has been much discussion about how to engage politically and socially with the Muslim community, but this survey shows that the vast majority of Muslims hold views in common with the rest of London about respect for the law, the value of democracy, the importance of mutual respect and equal opportunities, and debunking myths that are so readily perpetuated by some commentators and in certain sections of the media. The view that the Muslim community as a whole holds fundamentally different views to the rest of Londoners is shown by these figures to be totally untrue. That is why those who attempt to demonise the Muslim community do great damage. It is, on the contrary, necessary to work with the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community to isolate the small number of dangerous people. Co-operation with the Muslim community is vital for the intelligence the police need to safeguard terrorists who kille Muslims just as much as other Londoners.”

The survey shows that Muslims in London want a society based on mutual respect for different beliefs as much as other Londoners. More than three fifths of Muslims believe it is important to have the freedom to say what they believe is true (84 per cent of Muslims and 88 per cent of Londoners as a whole). Furthermore, 95 per cent of Muslims think everyone should be free to practise their religion openly, compared to 86 per cent of the public.

The Mayor added: “One in twelve Londoners is Muslim and London’s Muslim communities, in all their diversity, play an essential part in the life of our city, contributing to its success as a global city. These findings show that Muslim Londoners whilst valuing their faith, share the same values as other Londoners. I will continue to work to increase understanding combat some of the ignorance, prejudice and Islamaphobia stirred up by some sections of the media which is deeply dangerous to Londoners.”

GLA press release, 13 November 2007