Ten Years On


In this post we summarize seven new pieces of research touching on inter-religious relations in Britain ten years on from the London bombings on 7 July 2005 and in the aftermath of the recent Islamist massacre of British tourists in Tunisia.

Tenth anniversary of 7/7 (1)

To mark the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London, the UK edition of the Huffington Post is running a mini-series on ‘Beyond the Bombings’. This was launched on 3 July 2015 with a feature about a poll commissioned from YouGov, for which 1,578 adult Britons were interviewed online on 23-24 June 2015. 

Perhaps the most striking finding of the survey was that a majority (56%) now considers that Islam, as distinct from Islamic fundamentalist groups, poses a threat (27% major, 29% some) to Western liberal democracy. This represents an increase on the levels immediately after 9/11 in 2001 (32%) and immediately after 7/7 in 2005 (46%). The groups most antipathetic to Islam in 2015 are UKIP supporters (83%), over-60s (71%), and Conservatives (63%). Just 15% assess that Islam presents no threat at all, the under-25s being most optimistic (33%). 

Moreover, as many as 15% (five points more than in 2005) agree that a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to the country and are prepared to condone or even carry out acts of terrorism, rising to 45% of UKIP voters and 23% of over-60s. An additional 60% think there is a dangerous minority of disaffected Muslims, even if the great majority is peaceful and law-abiding, while merely 20% overall (but 36% of under-25s) accept that practically all British Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding and deplore terror attacks carried out in the name of Islam.    

The Huffington Post feature can be found at: 


and the full data tables, which also cover attitudes to multiculturalism and the perceived likelihood of further terror attacks on the scale of 7/7, are at: 


Tenth anniversary of 7/7 (2)

Another organization commemorating 7/7 by a new survey was British Future which released the results of its Survation poll on 2 July 2015, for which 3,977 Britons aged 18 and over had been interviewed online between 8 and 15 May 2015, including booster samples of Scottish and BME (black minority ethnic) respondents, which, inter alia, yielded a respectable unweighted number of 457 Muslims. Data tables are at: 


The majority (54%) considered that community relations across ethnic and faith groups had deteriorated in the decade since 7/7, 19% saying they had got much worse and 35% slightly worse, with 37% perceiving no change and 9% some improvement. There was much less variation by demographic sub-groups than one might have imagined, albeit as many as 68% of UKIP voters discerned that relations had got worse. 

Asked whether they thought the British public did not hold ordinary British Muslims responsible for the Islamist terrorists behind 7/7, 51% agreed, 22% disagreed, and 27% were neutral. The dissentients, i.e. those who implicitly said that the public did hold British Muslims responsible, included 36% of Muslims, just three points less than the 39% who said the public did not see them as responsible. 

When the question was put in more personal terms, the majority (56%) accepted that Britain’s Muslims were opposed to the terrorist ideology behind 7/7, but 14% disagreed, with as many as 30% undecided. Those doubting Muslim opposition to terrorism included 28% of UKIP voters, 29% of those with the least positive attitude to immigration, and 27% with the least positive attitude to the European Union. Unsurprisingly, 72% of Muslims contended that their co-religionists were opposed to the ideology behind 7/7, yet even 12% of them claimed otherwise.  

Tunisian massacre

The murder of 38 tourists (including 30 Britons) by an Islamist gunman in a beach resort just north of Sousse, Tunisia was the most noticed news story of last week, according to an online poll by Populus of 2,052 adult Britons on 1-2 July 2015. It was mentioned by 66% of respondents. Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Combating Islamic State (1)

Three-quarters of Britons are very or fairly worried that IS may attempt a terrorist attack in Britain, and only 19% are not, according to a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times conducted online among 1,531 adults on 2-3 July 2015. Over-60s (88%) are almost twice as anxious as the under-25s (47%), while UKIP and Conservative voters are also particularly concerned (87% and 84%, respectively). A plurality (45%) does not believe the police and security services have sufficient powers to combat IS in Britain, and a majority supports giving them wider powers, for example to monitor personal communications, to extend the period of detention without charge in the case of terrorist suspects, and to reintroduce control orders. 

Three-fifths agree that Britain and other Western countries should be doing more to counter IS in Iraq and Syria, including two-thirds of men, over-60s, Conservative and UKIP voters. Most Britons (57%, peaking at 71% among Conservatives) now favour extending RAF air strikes against IS to Syria, as well as Iraq, with just 21% disapproving. However, opinion is more divided about committing British and American ground troops to combat IS in either Iraq or Syria, with approximately two-fifths for and against in each case. A blog on the survey, with a link to the full data tables, can be found at: 


There is a tracker of all YouGov polling on IS at:


Combating Islamic State (2)

Fewer than half (47%) of Britons feel that it will be possible to beat the threat posed by IS at the present time, with women (39%) being far less confident than men (56%). This is according to a poll by ICM Unlimited conducted for the Daily Mirror among an online sample of 2,001 adults on 1-3 July 2015. Although pluralities backed airstrikes against IS (48%), building up local armies to fight IS (46%), and the assassination of IS leaders (41%), there was more reluctance to commit British or other ground troops (30%). And just 32% had confidence that military action would make the region safer, 29% convinced that it would make it still more dangerous. In a follow-up survey of 2,016 adults on 3-5 July, there was also a minority holding positive views of IS, 3% being very favourable and 6% somewhat favourable toward them (against 80% being very unfavourable). In the absence of data tables in the public domain, the fullest accounts of the survey are currently to be found in two articles on the Mirror’s website at:   



Postscript: Data tables for both surveys have now been posted at:



The Anti-Defamation League has recently (30 June 2015) updated The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, the first (2014) edition of which was covered by BRIN on 22 May 2014 at: 


For the update, between 10 March and 3 April 2015, Anzalone Liszt Grove Research conducted interviews, mostly by telephone, with 10,000 adults aged 18 and over in 19 countries, including Great Britain, 500 interviews in each apart from 1,000 in the United States. As in 2014, ADL created index scores by asking whether 11 negative statements about Jews were true or false, assent to at least six of them being taken as evidence of anti-Semitic sentiments. Britain, with 12%, registered the fourth lowest score of all 19 nations, after Denmark, the United States, and The Netherlands, with Turkey, Greece, and Iran being most anti-Semitic (with scores of 71%, 67%, and 60%, respectively). 

Responses to the 11 statements in Britain in 2015 were as follows: 

% across



Don’t know

Jews are more loyal to Israel than Britain




Jews still talk too much about what happened in Holocaust




Jews have too much power in international financial markets




Jews have too much power in business world




People hate Jews because of way Jews behave




Jews have too much control over US government




Jews don’t care what happens to anybody but their own




Jews have too much control over global affairs




Jews think they are better than other people




Jews have too much control over global media




Jews are responsible for most of world’s wars




As the following table of attitudes to five religious groups in Britain in 2015 reveals, Muslims are regarded in the most unfavourable light, with Jews viewed almost as positively as Christians, notwithstanding that only 27% interact with Jews very or somewhat often and 15% not at all. 

Attitudes to (% across)
























Besides the national cross-sections, an additional 100 interviews with Muslims were carried out by telephone in areas of high Muslim concentration in each of six Western European countries, including Britain, between 23 March and 8 April 2015. The smallness of the samples should encourage caution in interpreting the results, but it can be noted that Muslims in each country were found to have a very high anti-Semitic index score relative to the national average (54% versus 12% in the case of British Muslims).    

To access the press release, executive summary, and (interactively) country-by-country results for the 2015 update, follow the links at the foot of the home page of The ADL Global 100 website at: 


Holocaust denial

According to the ADL poll, above, Holocaust denial, in the sense of the Holocaust being regarded as a myth which did not happen, is a negligible problem: 0% took this position in Britain, while 90% asserted that, not only did the Holocaust happen, but that the number of Jews who perished as a result has been fairly described by history.  

Nevertheless, Holocaust denial, which is not illegal in Britain, remains a sensitive matter for British Jews, 64% of whom believe that it should become a criminal offence, with a majority among all age cohorts, including 56% of under-35s. This is according to a Survation telephone poll for the Jewish Chronicle on 17-23 June 2015, for which 1,023 Jewish adults were interviewed. The result was briefly reported by the newspaper in the edition for 3 July 2015 at: 



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