(JTA) – A poll of British Muslims revealed that they are more anti-Semitic than the general population, and also differ from the larger community on numerous social issues.
The poll was conducted for a television documentary called “What British Muslims Really Think.”
According to reports in several British media outlets, the poll found that while 6 per cent of the British population in a parallel poll believed Jews are “responsible for most wars,” more than 25 per cent of Muslim respondents held that view. In addition, nearly 40 per cent of the Muslims polled said Jews had “too much control over global affairs,” a view held by just 10 per cent of the overall British population.
The poll of Muslims also found that more than one-third believe Jews talk too much about the Holocaust, 30 per cent believe Jews “think they are better than other people” and 40 per cent believe Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to the U.K.”
Asked if they believed anti-Semitism is a problem in the U.K., 25 per cent of respondents said yes.
Some British Muslim leaders are questioning the poll’s accuracy, however, with one scholar saying it interviews Muslims only in areas where they are 20 per cent or more of the population and thus less likely to be integrated into the larger British culture. Writing in the Guardian, a leader of the Muslim Council of Britain called the poll “skewed” and “divisive.”
According to London’s Jewish News, a statement from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said the poll showed that interfaith initiatives had “failed to stop high levels of Muslim anti-Semitism,” adding: “British Muslims hold deeply anti-Semitic views. … We note the shocking levels of anti-Jewish opinion, including several conspiracy theory based beliefs about Jews and power, money, business and the media.”
The poll also found that large numbers of British Muslims believe Jews wield too much power: 40 per cent said Jews have too much power over financial markets and 39 per cent said the same about the media.
“It is sad that ancient stereotypes still play out in society at large and in particular within parts of the Muslim community,” Jewish Leadership Council leader Simon Johnson said, according to the Jewish News. “This report shows a clear need for further education.”
According to London’s Jewish Chronicle, the poll also found sharp differences between Muslim opinion and general British opinion on homosexuality and women’s rights. For example, half of respondents said homosexuality should be illegal, while 39 per cent agreed with the statement that “wives should always obey their husbands” and 31 per cent thought it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife, The Guardian reported.
While their views differed from their non-Muslim countrymen, the Muslims polled expressed positive feelings about the United Kingdom, with 88 per cent saying Britain was a good place for Muslims and 86 per cent saying they feel a strong sense of belonging in the country.
The poll was conducted in person in the spring of 2015 with a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across the country. For comparison, the pollsters also interviewed by phone a representative sample of 1,008 British people.