Muslim Survey – Gallup Coexist 2009

The headlines you didn’t see!

• A quarter of British Muslims don’t have confidence in the country’s Judicial system and courts!

• British Muslims are the least integrated in Europe, only one in 10 is integrated

• Loyalty doesn’t mean much

• British Muslims at greatest odds with their countrymen over what integration means – the veil is a serious issue

• British Muslims have less respect for other religions than other European Muslims do

• Huge gap between British Muslims and the British public regarding freedom of speech

• British Muslims most likely to support violence in a noble cause

• Survey may have deliberately avoided important and contentious issues

These are reasonable and accurate conclusions drawn from the 2009 Gallup Coexist study which involved 513, 506, and 504 interviews of French, German and British Muslims respectively and of 1006, 1011, and 1001 non-Muslims respectively.

(1) The headlines that the propagandists gave you

Extract from a press release issued by the Muslim Council of Britain.

“The Muslim Council of Britain today welcomed the findings …. showing that Muslims in the United Kingdom feel more loyalty towards the country in which they live than the general public believes they do.

…. The poll charts the attitudes of British Muslims and the wider public, showing that 82% of British Muslims are loyal to this country.

…. 76 % of British Muslims said they had confidence in our country’s Judicial system and courts, thus negating those doomsayers who say Muslims want some sort of undefined ‘Shariah state’.

…. strong religious identities do not prevent strong national identities, nor do they correlate with a rejection of national institutions.

Commending the study, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “…. British Muslims are very much part of this nation’s cultural, social and economic fabric. But naysayers will want to tell you otherwise, and will wish to drive a wedge between fellow Britons. We must all collectively challenge their received wisdom.”

…. many of our fellow Britons have an admirable ‘live-and-let-live’ attitude to those who are different, and many feel – unlike those on the continent – that religious symbols including the headscarf enrich our national culture.” ….

This MCB press release on the Gallup Coexist survey wants you to believe there aren’t any issues regarding the UK’s large minority of Muslims. Any concerns that the majority of the British population have are without foundation, in fact, it is the majority who need to consider their attitudes (even though we are a tolerant bunch).

These MCB conclusions are wishful thinking at best. They demonstrate a failure to objectively analyse the Gallup Coexist results and an ignorance of the surveys shortcomings.

(2) What didn’t get reported

(2.1) British Muslims are the least integrated in Europe, only one in 10 is integrated

The early part of the survey classifies respondents as isolated, tolerant or integrated, defined as follows.

Isolated: Isolated individuals tend not to be members of any particular faith group, but if they are, they tend to believe in the truth of their perspective above all others. They do not want to know about other religions. They also neither respect nor feel respected by those of other faiths.

Tolerant: Tolerant individuals have a “live-and-let-live” attitude toward people of other faiths, and they generally feel that they treat others of different faiths with respect. However, they are not likely to learn from or about other religions.

Integrated: Integrated individuals go beyond a “live-and-let-live” attitude and actively seek to know more about and learn from others of different religious traditions. They believe that most faiths make a positive contribution to society. Furthermore, integrated people not only feel they respect people from other faith traditions, but they also feel respected by them.

By asking a small battery of questions the survey comes up with this result.

[Source: p16 – Figure 8. Gallup Coexist Index]

Percentage of Muslims who are:
Nationality Isolated Tolerant Integrated
French 23 31 46
German 22 43 35
British 30 60 10

(2.2) Identification and Loyalty

The answers to the next two questions on identification and loyalty have been seized upon by Muslim propagandists like the MCB as proof that any worries that non-Muslims have of Muslims regarding their attitude towards their country are without foundation.

[Source: p19 – Figure 14. Identification With Country, Religion]

Q. How strongly do you identify with each of the following groups?

Percentage of Muslims who say “extremely strongly” or “very strongly”
Nationality Religion Country
French 58 52
German 59 40
British 75 77

It will ba a surprise to many non-Muslims, many of whom might be committed Catholics, or Hindus, or Buddhists, that it is thought notable or a surprise that many Muslims claiming strong religious identity also claim strong national identity.

The lower country indentification for French Muslims may be related to the fact that many are from North Africa and can easily visit relatives and their native country and for German Muslims to the fact that a significant proportion of Muslim Turks living in Germany do not have German citizenship .

[Source: p20 – Figure 15. Loyalty to Country]

Q. Now thinking specifically about Muslims, do you think each of the following applies or does not apply?

Percentage of Muslims who say Muslims living in THIS COUNTRY are loyal to this country
Nationality Loyal Not Applicable Don’t Know/Refused
French 80 8 12
German 71 15 14
British 82 6 12

As can be seen from the press release quoted above the MCB set great store by the result that 82% of British Muslims say they are loyal to Britain.

Loyalty is an emotional word and beyond its dictionary definition has various connotations. Gallup Coexist do not define what they mean by loyalty and the survey has only the one question concerning loyalty. What the questionnaire means by the word or what a respondent understands by it is not explored by further relevant questions.

All respondents had was the question given above. Are you loyal?

At one extreme it could mean (i) I support my country, right or wrong, (ii) it could mean I know the history of my country, which I am proud of, and even if I do disagree with what it is doing I try to see both sides of the matter, and (iii) it could mean, I have a passport, speak passable English, and obey the laws.

In the case of the MCB and its one-sided obsession with the Palestinian problem, the first two explanations are unlikely.

In fact, the range of meanings that could be given to loyalty in this context was so wide that the questionnaire designers didn’t bother to give respondents the option of saying “not loyal” the other options being only “does not apply” and “don’t know / refused”.

Also, apart from the odd eccentric or extremist that interviewers might come across it seems most unlikely that many Muslims or other persons would openly state to an unknown interviewer that they were not loyal to the country which gives them protection, and good quality free education and healthcare, which many of them would not have had in their country of origin.

So much for loyalty.

(2.3) British Muslims at greatest odds with their countrymen over what integration means – the veil is a serious issue

The survey had several questions addressing what respondents understood by integration.

[Source: p22 – Figure 18. Religious Actions Necessary for Integration]

Q. Many people are discussing the issue of “integration” of ethnic and religious minorities into society in this country. What does “integration” mean to you? To answer this, I will ask you a series of actions and you tell me if you think it is necessary or not necessary for minorities to do these things in order to integrate into society in this country.

Percentage of Muslims who say “it is necessary”. Removing the:
Nationality Headscarf Face veil Yarmulke Turban Large cross
French 22 32 23 23 24
German 6 29 10 11 11
British 3 12 1 3 2
Percentage of Non-Muslims who say “it is necessary”. Removing the:
Nationality Headscarf Face veil Yarmulke Turban Large cross
French 62 63 55 59 50
German 36 45 27 33 20
British 32 53 24 18 17
Percentage gap between Muslims and non-Muslims
Nationality Headscarf Face veil Yarmulke Turban Large cross
French 40 31 32 36 26
German 30 16 17 22 9
British 29 41 23 15 15

The British compared with the French and Germans appear more relaxed but clearly there is a huge gap of 41 percentage points between what British Muslims and other British people feel about the veil.

The next integration question (p22 – Figure 19) asked about non-religious actions needed for integration.

Q. Many people are discussing the issue of “integration” of ethnic and religious minorities into society in this country. What does “integration” mean to you?

Respondents were asked to rate “Mastering the national language”, “Finding a job”, “Getting a better education”, “Celebrating national holidays”, “Volunteering in organizations serving the public”, “Participating in politics”.

The results are not worth analysing as they show nothing but the obvious. The question looks suspiciously like a make weight for political purposes. Can anybody seriously suggest that mastering the national language, or getting a job, or taking national holidays, is a sign of integration?

It would have been much more useful to have asked about the willingness of Muslims to adopt or adapt to the ways of the great majority whose families have been in the country for generations and who have contributed to making it what it is often through great hardship. Why do some Muslims expect the majority native population to adapt to them?

Why can’t British Muslims understand that hiding your face is considered the height of rudeness by the majority of Britons? Over two-thirds would be prepared to ban such face covering in public places. See this article at TimesOnline. And see the poll results here.

Do you think one day we will have a press release from the MCB saying “….. our fellow countryman don’t like the veil. We recommend Muslim women do not wear a veil.”? [Answers to Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, The MCB – PO Box 57330, London E1 2WJ, admin@mcb.org.uk]

(2.4) British Muslims have less respect for other religions than their fellow Muslims do in the rest Europe.

[Source: p24 – Figure 22. Respect People of Other Faiths]

Q. Using a 5-point scale, where 5 means strongly agree and 1 means strongly disagree, how much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

I always treat people of other religious faiths with respect
Nationality Percentage of Muslims who strongly agree
French 66
German 78
British 51

British Muslims show less respect for other religions than Muslims in France and Germany. Almost 80% of German Muslims strongly agree that they respect other religions but only 50% of British Muslims feel the same.

(2.5) Huge gap between British Muslims and the British public regarding freedom of speech

[Source: p25 Figure 23. Integration – Accepting Offensive Comments]

Q. Many people are discussing the issue of “integration” of ethnic and religious minorities into society in this country. What does “integration” mean to you?

Accepting public comments they perceive as offensive about their faith or ethnicity
Percentage who say it is necessary
Nationality Muslims Public Muslims/Public Gap
French 25 37 12
German 19 31 12
British 9 45 36

There is a striking difference between British Muslims and the British public over freedom of speech.

(2.6) British Muslims most likely to support violence in a noble cause

[Source: p40 Figure 52. Morally Justified – Use of Violence in a Noble Cause]

Q. There are many acts some people may do in life. I will read out to you a number of these acts, and I would like you to indicate to what extent it can be morally justified.

Muslims’ views on use of violence for a noble cause. Percentage who say:
Nationality Cannot be
justified at all
2 3 4 Completely
justifiable
French 75 6 12 1 5
German 80 5 10 1 2
British 48 3 13 31 6

(3) The elephant in the room!

The Gallup organisation, founded by George Gallup, is a highly reputable polling and market research organisation with a record of pioneering and quality work going back over 60 years.

Thus it is a surprise to find that the Gallup Coexist survey, “A global Study of Interfaith Relations”, omits entirely one of this subjects most contentious issues; Muslims wanting to live under Sharia.

It certainly didn’t escape Dr Bari’s attention because he says in his gushing praise of the survey results “76 % of British Muslims said they had confidence in our country’s Judicial system and courts, thus negating those doomsayers who say Muslims want some sort of undefined ‘Shariah state’.”

This is a non-sequiter, of course; and the survey no where mentions Sharia. And, you have to wonder about the quarter of British Muslims who don’t have confidence in the country’s Judicial system and courts; that’s rather a lot of Muslims.

It would have been very interesting to know what the survey respondents, Muslim and non-Muslim, would have thought of the statements of such Muslim figures as Dr Suhaib Hasan, a leading judge of the UK Islamic Sharia Council, who says “Under the Islamic system, the man may end the marriage if he thinks it right. It is preferable he does this in front of two witnesses, then it is a simple exercise to say: ‘I divorce you.’ “

Or what they think of Faisal Siddiqi, the chairman of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal’s (MAT) governing council who criticised the British media for its obsession with beheadings and other extreme punishments. “They constitute only 10% of sharia.” he says. See here

And what would they think of the explanation given by the UK Islamic Sharia Council of why the evidence of a woman is worth less than that of a man. See here

The person responsible for the Gallup Coexist survey, Dalia Mogahed, Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies, has been in the news recently.

She was appointed a Muslim affairs advisor to President Obama and later provoked controversy by appearing on a British television show hosted by a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir group (they believe in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia Law across the world) to talk about Sharia Law.

She said the Western view of Sharia was “oversimplified” and the majority of women around the world associate it with “gender justice”.

Following the outcry created by her appearance and comments she explained that she had not been aware prior to the programme that it was to be hosted by a member of Hizb ut Tahrir and she was only reporting the results of Gallup’s surveys which suggest [emphasis added] that many Muslim women see Sharia differently from those who use it to deny women rights.

Obviously Gallup haven’t surveyed Canadian Muslim women who were instrumental in the State of Ontario banning the use of religious courts to settle family disputes.

It is fair to ask if the survey has been designed to avoid certain contentious issues such as Sharia!

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