Muslim and Christian News

For a third week running, Muslims dominate the religious statistical news post-Woolwich, but we also find space for four short items on Christians.

‘Hate preachers’

The brutal murder by two Islamists of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich continues to inform public opinion towards Islam and Muslims. In a newly-released poll, by ComRes for the Sunday Mirror (conducted online on 29 and 30 May 2013), 84% of the 2,015 adult Britons interviewed agreed that the Government should take action to silence so-called ‘hate preachers’ who radicalize young Muslims, the proportion reaching 94% among over-65s and 95% with UKIP voters. Just 6% disagreed with the proposition, with 10% undecided. Detailed tables, published on 2 June, can be found at:

Integration of Muslim migrants

Negative opinions about Muslims predate Rigby’s murder, of course. By way of illustration, migrants from Muslim countries were perceived by Britons as the least well integrated into British society of four migrant groups covered in two YouGov polls for YouGov@Cambridge, which were published on 3 June 2013, with online interviews of representative samples of adults aged 18 and over conducted on 7-8 and 16-17 May 2013. A summary table appears below, with full breaks by demographics available at:




Not well


Migrants from Eastern Europe



Children of migrants from Eastern Europe



Migrants from Muslim countries



Children of migrants from Muslim countries



Migrants from Pakistan



Children of migrants from Pakistan



Migrants from African countries



Children of migrants from African countries



The proportion feeling that migrants from Muslim countries were poorly integrated into British society was 71% overall, 14% more than in the case of migrants from Pakistan (which is a preponderantly Muslim nation), 17% more than for migrants from Eastern Europe, and 25% more than migrants from African countries. Migrants from Muslim countries were especially seen as poorly integrated by Conservative and UKIP voters, the over-40s, and Midlanders and Welsh.

Children of migrants from Muslim countries were assessed as better integrated into British society than their parents, by a margin of 17%. Even so, a majority of Britons (53%) said that this second generation, too, was poorly assimilated, rising to 89% for UKIP supporters, 62% of Midlanders/Welsh, and 58% of over-40s. By contrast, pluralities felt that children from the other three migrant groups were well integrated.

Britishness of Muslims

But what Britons as a whole feel about Muslims may be at variance with how Muslims regard themselves. This is suggested by a briefing paper by Stephen Jivraj, Who Feels British? The Relationship between Ethnicity, Religion, and National Identity in England, which was published on 6 June 2013 by the University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity. The paper is at:

Using evidence from the 2011 census of population, which included a question on national identity for the first time, Jivraj found that:

  • Muslims are more likely than Christians to report British national identity only (57% compared to 15%), with Sikhs on 62% and Hindus on 54%
  • Muslims are less likely to report other (foreign) national identity only than Buddhists or Hindus (24% compared to 42% and 32% respectively)
  • Christians (65%) and Jews (54%) are more likely to report English only national identity than any other faith group, Hindus (9%) and Muslims (13%) registering the lowest figures

Islamophobic incidents

Lee Rigby’s murder has prompted a degree of backlash against Britain’s Muslim community, with a number of demonstrations organized by far-right groups, several attacks on mosques and Islamic centres, and various other Islamophobic incidents. The question is how extensive has that backlash been? Here a row has blown up between the right-leaning media and the Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) project, whose first annual statistics were covered by BRIN on 15 March 2013, and which performs a similar role for Islamophobia as the Community Security Trust does for anti-Semitism, with start-up funding for Tell MAMA provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

According to Tell MAMA, there have been 212 Islamophobic incidents reported to it between Rigby’s death on 22 May and last weekend. For two successive weeks running Andrew Gilligan in his column in the Sunday Telegraph has criticized the ‘spin’ being placed on the figures by Tell MAMA, especially its claims of a growing ‘cycle of violence’. In today’s article (‘Muslim Hate Monitor to Lose Backing’, p. 14), Gilligan reiterates that 57% of the incidents occurred online, mainly in the form of offensive posts to Twitter and Facebook; 16% of reports have yet to be verified; and that physical targeting of Muslims featured in just 8% of cases and attacks on property in 6%.

Gilligan’s original article can be found at:

Tell MAMA’s side of the story is set out in its blog at:

Fair Admissions Campaign

The Fair Admissions Campaign launched in London on 6 June 2013, with the objective of opening up all state-funded schools in England and Wales to all children, regardless of their parents’ religion. As part of the evidence base for its claim that the current system is discriminatory, the Campaign has published the results of a preliminary mapping of state schools against one socio-economic indicator, the eligibility of pupils for free school meals.

This found that ‘secondary schools without a religious character have on average 26 per cent more pupils eligible for free school meals than the first half of their post code and 30 per cent more pupils eligible than their local authority. In contrast, Roman Catholic secondary schools have 20 per cent fewer pupils in receipt of free school meals than the average for their postcode and 23 per cent fewer for the average for their local authority. Voluntary Aided Church of England secondary schools have eight per cent and 18 per cent fewer than the average for their post code and local authority respectively. Most Church schools were set up to serve children from poor families, so serving the better off in their community is a distortion to their original mission.’

For more details, see:

In a parallel development, on 3 June the Sutton Trust, which is dedicated to ‘improving social mobility through education’, published Selective Comprehensives: The Social Composition of Top Comprehensive Schools, focusing on the top 500 English comprehensive state secondary schools, based on their academic performance in 2012. These schools included a disproportionate number of faith schools (33% against 19% of all state-funded secondary schools) which scored relatively poorly on a measure of eligibility for and uptake of free school meals (8% compared with 12% for all faith schools and 17% for non-faith schools nationally). The report is at:

Singleness and the Church

Peter Brierley’s writes a monthly column on church statistics for the Church of England Newspaper. In his latest article (9 June 2013, p. 15) he focuses on ‘Being Single in Church’, picking up on the experiences of singles as recently reported in a survey of members of Christian Connection, a dating agency for Christian singles. Brierley compares the marital status of English churchgoers and population in 2012, the former data taken from a study of only seven evangelical congregations for the Langham International Partnership. He shows that adult ‘legally singles’ are far more numerous in society than in church, but this is because of the disproportionate concentration of cohabitees and single parents in the population; excluding these two categories, there were actually more ‘singles’ in church. Almost half of churchgoers aged 18-39 are single, and the great majority of these are women, who are therefore challenged to find a suitable marriage partner within the church. This is underlined by preliminary findings from Brierley’s London Church Census, 2012, five-sixths of those who joined the Church in the capital during the past decade being female. For those in their twenties 10,000 women joined between 2005 and 2012 against only 5,000 men.

Methodist diaconate

A quantitative demographic and attitudinal profile of the Methodist Order of Deacons (a neighbourhood form of ministry complementing, and having equal status with, the much larger Order of Presbyters) is offered by Lewis Burton, ‘The Methodist Diaconate: Profiling a Distinctive Order of Ministry’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Vol. 89, 2012-13, No. 2, pp. 15-32. The article is largely based upon a questionnaire survey of Deacons undertaken in 2006 to parallel the same author’s 2004 study of Methodist Presbyters.

Dean of Studies and Research, Bible Society

The Bible Society is advertising for a Dean of Studies and Research in order to spearhead its engagement with the higher education sector and to contribute to the programme of Christian Research, which is part of the Society. The closing date for applications is 23 June 2013. Further particulars of the post are available at:



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