‘Open-minded’ non-Muslims reject Islamophobia

Almost two-thirds of Britons declared “no one religion is better or worse” when asked which faith they thought was “best” or “worst”. Of those who did name the “best” religion, 26 per cent chose Christianity, the Metro Harris Interactive survey revealed. In the 2001 census, 72 per cent of respondents described themselves as Christian.

The attacks on the US on September 11, 2001 and London on July 7, 2005 have had some impact on attitudes to Muslims. Fifty-six per cent admitted they had changed their attitude but a quarter of people said the atrocities had made them “more conscious of Islamic issues and points of view”. Just nine per cent said they had felt “nervous around Muslim groups” while only one per cent of people said they had changed seats or carriages on public transport.

Ramadhan Foundation head Mohammed Shafiq said it showed Britons were “open-minded”. “Most people are educated enough to know the difference between extremists and the vast majority of Muslims who believe violence is forbidden,” he said. “The key thing to overcome is ignorance. The nine per cent of people who are running scared of Muslims – how much interaction have they had with normal Muslims on a day-to-day basis?”

And Mr Shafiq stressed it was “not a big issue” for British Muslims to live in a “predominantly Christian” country. “We are a multi-faith society with Christianity as the dominant faith,” he added. “That’s our strength, that’s why the world wants to come to London.”

Metro, 7 December 2009