Our latest round-up of religious statistical news publicizes seven stories of Muslim and Anglican interest.
Ramadan and Channel 4
The announcement (on 2 July 2013) by Channel 4 that it will broadcast (on television and its website) the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) during the festival of Ramadan, which runs from 9 July to 7 August, has been poorly received by the British public. According to a YouGov poll released on 4 July, and undertaken online among 1,923 adults on 2 and 3 July, 52% are opposed to the broadcaster’s decision and only 26% supportive, with 23% undecided. Opposition peaks among UKIP voters (84%), the over-60s (68%), and Conservatives (61%). Most in favour, with just over one-third in each case, are Labourites, Liberal Democrats, the under-40s, and Londoners. Unfortunately, no supplementary question was asked to seek reasons for opposition (or support), but anti-Muslim sentiment is likely to have featured strongly, especially with the heightening of tensions following the murder in Woolwich of Drummer Lee Rigby at the hands of two Islamists. Detailed computer tabulations have been posted at:
YouGov’s commentary on the results, including analysis of the impact of Channel 4’s announcement as reflected on Twitter and Facebook, can be found at:
Anti-Muslim hate crime
The work of Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) in recording anti-Muslim hate incidents in England and Wales, and of the criticisms which it has received for allegedly misleading interpretations of its data, have been mentioned by BRIN twice before (see our posts of 15 March and 9 June 2013). We now highlight the publication, by Teesside University on 1 July, of a systematic analysis of the 584 incidents notified to Tell MAMA between 1 April 2012 and 30 April 2013: Nigel Copsey, Janet Dack, Mark Littler, and Matthew Feldman, Anti-Muslim Hate Crime and the Far Right, at pp. 14-27. The overwhelming majority of these incidents, which the authors accept are of a ‘fundamentally self-selecting nature’, occurred online (74%) and were not reported to the police (63%, thus making it difficult to say how many were technically crimes under the law). Most (56%) were said to be linked with far right groups, rising to 69% for online incidents alone. There is a useful ‘post-Woolwich addendum’ (pp. 27-8), which shows that there were 241 anti-Muslim incidents notified to Tell MAMA in the period between 22 May and 25 June 2013, equivalent to a daily rate four times as high as during the preceding thirteen months, although 46% of these cases occurred during the five days after Rigby’s murder. The report – which marks the official launch of the University’s Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist, and Post-Fascist Studies – is available at:
True Vision, another hate crime reporting agency, has recently published a faith breakdown of the victims of religious hate crimes as recorded by the police in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2011. Of the two-thirds of such crimes for which this information is available, 52% were committed against Muslims, 26% against Jews, and 14% against Christians. The data, which come with several caveats and have not been statistically validated, are at:
How many Muslims?
The British public greatly overestimates the number of Muslims living in Britain, and underestimates the country’s Christian population, according to an Ipsos MORI poll for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London whose results were published on 9 July 2013 in connection with the International Year of Statistics. Interviews were conducted online with 1,015 adults aged 16-75 between 14 and 18 June 2013, and topline and detailed tables (pp. 121-8 of the latter being most relevant for our purposes) are available at:
Asked ‘out of every 100 people in Britain, about how many do you think are Muslim?’ 35% could not venture an opinion, but, among those who did reply, 24% was the mean estimated proportion of Muslims, about five times the actual figure for England and Wales as revealed in the 2011 census. The estimated proportion of Muslims peaks among those with no formal educational qualifications (33%) and readers of tabloid newspapers (31%). All told, as many as two-fifths of Britons think that Muslims account for more than 10% of people in the country. By contrast, Christians are believed to comprise no more than 34% of the nation, 25% fewer than in England and Wales at the 2011 census.
Such misperceptions were not confined to religion but affected a whole swathe of topics covered in the survey, thereby highlighting ‘how wrong the British public can be on the make-up of the population and the scale of key social policy issues’. Clearly, the challenge of innumeracy and the deficit of evidence-based thinking remain very great.
Church of England – hardly a ‘national treasure’
In his first presidential address to General Synod this week, Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, warned the Church of England of ‘the overwhelming change of cultural hinterland’, and of an increasing gulf between public attitudes and those of the Church. Some reflection of this disenchantment with the Established Church can be found in a YouGov poll undertaken for Freeview between 7 and 10 June 2013, and published on 10 July 2013. The sample comprised 2,066 UK adults aged 18 and over.
Respondents were given a mixed bag of fifteen British organizations, and asked about the extent to which they valued them, on a scale running from 1 (‘don’t value at all’) to 10 (‘value a lot’). In the case of the Church of England, 21% stated that they did not value it at all, the fourth worst score after the Football Association (32%), BskyB (27%), and Barclays (27%). By contrast, lower figures were recorded by British Gas (18%), the House of Commons (16%), British Telecom (11%), British Airways (11%), BBC (6%), ITV (6%), Freeview (4%), National Trust (3%), Post Office (2%), Royal Mail (2%), and the National Health Service (1%). The Church of England’s worst rating was among Scots (43%) and unemployed people (38%).
At the other end of the spectrum, only 8% valued the Church of England a lot, peaking at 12% of over-55s, the retired, and residents of South-West England; and 18% of those with three or more children in the household. This compared with 54% for the National Health Service, 20% for the BBC, 20% for Royal Mail, 19% for the Post Office, 17% for Freeview, 14% for the National Trust, 8% for the House of Commons, 7% for ITV, 5% for British Telecom, 4% for British Airways, 3% for British Gas, 3% for the Football Association, 2% for BskyB, and 2% for Barclays.
If we assume that scores of 1, 2, 3, and 4 equate to negativity, then 41% of Britons attach limited or no value to the Church of England. One-quarter (24%) are neutral (giving a rating of 5 or 6), 29% are positive (opting for 7, 8, 9, or 10), and 5% are undecided. Full data tables are at:
Part 2 of the same poll included a similar question about the value of sundry ‘national treasures’, all of which bar British television soaps (27%) achieved a lower 1 score than the Church of England had in part 1: Harry Potter (20%), Wimbledon tennis championship (15%), James Bond (14%), royal family (10%), the Beatles (10%), a cup of tea (8%), William Shakespeare (6%), Stonehenge (6%), Big Ben (6%), British pubs (5%), fish and chips (4%), and red post boxes (4%).
Part 2 also contained a slightly daft question about which one of ten things UK adults would give up in order to ensure continuing free access (through the television licence) to the main television channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5). Going to church was one of the forfeits and was selected by 14% of respondents, just behind using social media (18%) and smoking cigarettes (15%). The tables for Part 2 are at:
Church of England finance statistics
The Church of England’s parochial finance statistics for 2011 were published on 1 July 2013. For the third year running, parishes were in overall deficit, albeit to a smaller extent in 2011 (£14 million) than 2010 (£22 million). Total income in 2011 was £916 million, £19 million more than the year before, while total expenditure was £930 million, up by £12 million. In 2007, the last year before the economic downturn, parishes had an aggregate surplus of £60 million, since when income has steadily fallen in real terms. The report, in the form of nine tables and ten figures, can be found at:
Church Times readership survey
As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the Church Times has launched a survey of its readership, broadly comparable to the one undertaken by self-completion postal questionnaire in 2001. A questionnaire was included in the 5 July 2013 edition of the newspaper but can alternatively be completed online. Results will be analysed by Professor Leslie Francis of the University of Warwick and Andrew Village of York St John University; they will be available in the autumn. The online questionnaire can be found at:
The principal publications arising from the 2001 survey are: Leslie Francis, Mandy Robbins, and Jeff Astley, Fragmented Faith? Exploring the Fault-Lines in the Church of England (Bletchley: Paternoster Press, 2005); and Andrew Village and Leslie Francis, The Mind of the Anglican Clergy: Assessing Attitudes and Beliefs in the Church of England (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009).
Godparents for the royal baby
The birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child may be imminent, but a majority of Britons have no views about the baby’s godparents. Given a list of prospective godmothers, 53% say they have no idea or do not care who it will be, with 51% replying along the same lines about prospective godfathers. The figures rise to 70% and 71% respectively among those expressing no interest in the forthcoming royal birth. In so far as Britons have a preference for godparents, it is Prince Harry for godfather (35%) and Pippa Middleton for godmother (16%). YouGov interviewed 1,577 adults aged 18 and over online on 7-8 July 2013, and data tables were published on 11 July at: