Muslim Voices

The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently published two reports which illuminate, numerically, the attitudes of British Muslims.

The first is Helen Connolly, Attitudes, Values and Perceptions: Muslims and the General Population in 2007-08. This utilizes evidence from the 2007-08 Citizenship Survey to compare and contrast the opinions of Muslims (as a whole, and disaggregated by gender and two age groups – 16-24 and 25+) and those of the general population in England. The Muslim sample numbers 1,768.

Some data and/or comparisons are also drawn with the 2005 Citizenship Survey. There are three chapters, on engagement; cohesion, interaction and identity; and prejudice and discrimination.

The report paints, in several respects, an optimistic picture of Muslim opinion. In particular, Muslims are shown to have very positive views about the level of social cohesion in their local areas; to express a strong sense of belonging both to their neighbourhoods and to Britain; and to have high levels of trust in British institutions. However, there is a perception, among Muslims and the general population, that religious prejudice is widespread and on the increase.

The document (ISBN 978 1 4098 2190 8) is available for download at:

The second report is Literature Review of Attitudes towards Violent Extremism amongst Muslim Communities in the UK. This is written by Sanah Sheikh, Chih Hoong Sin and Ewan King (all from the Office for Public Management) and Asima Shaikh (an independent researcher), and under commission from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Chapter 4 (pp. 27-52) forms the core of the report, setting out research findings about violent extremism drawn from 36 studies relating to Muslim communities in the UK and published between 2000 and 2009. They were selected from a search of databases and websites in May-June 2009. The studies comprise a mixture of the quantitative and qualitative and of the national and local.

The selection sometimes seems arbitrary; for example, the 1990 Trust of Muslims in 2006 is considered but not that by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in 2004 (published in six volumes). However, some of the principal opinion polls of Muslims (by Gallup, GfK NOP, ICM, Pew and Populus) are featured.

Each study is assessed for quality against a range of criteria, and nearly all are judged to be of low or medium quality in providing evidence on the attitudes of Muslim communities in the UK towards violent extremism.

The document (ISBN 978 1 4098 2282 0) is available for download at:

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