Poll reveals more than a third of British Muslims believe ‘Jews have too much power in UK’


British Muslims are more likely to support antisemitic conspiracy theories than other British citizens, a wide-reaching poll has found.

Extensive research by polling group ICM for Channel 4 found that the Muslim community is more likely to believe that Jewish people have too much power in Britain and too much power over government, media, the business world, international financial markets, and global affairs. Jews were also said to be responsible for most of the world’s wars.

The findings, which were conducted ahead of the broadcast on Wednesday of a documentary, What British Muslims Really Think, also found that attitudes to antisemitism and the Holocaust broadly differed between British Muslims and the wider population.

Asked whether they thought antisemitism was a problem in Britain today, only 26 per cent of 1,081 British Muslims who took part in the poll said they would describe it as “a problem” – compared to 46 per cent of the 1,008 people in the poll’s control group, representative of the average UK citizen.

The poll also examined reaction to antisemitic conspiracy theories. It found that 35 per cent of British Muslims “agreed” with the suggestion that Jewish people have too much power in Britain – compared to just nine per cent in the national average.

Thirty one per cent agreed that Jews have too much power in government compared to seven per cent in the national average; 39 per cent of Muslims felt Jewish people have too much power over the media, compared to 10 per cent nationally; while 44 per cent of British Muslims said Jews have too much power in business compared to 18 per cent.

More than 40 per cent of British Muslims said Jews were more loyal to Israel than the UK, while 34 per cent said Jewish people talk “too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust”.

It found that 26 per cent of British Muslims believe that Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars, compared to six per cent nationally; while 27 per cent said that people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

The poll found that Muslims in this country felt a strong connection to Britain, but that their views on issues including homosexuality and women’s rights significantly differ to the wider population’s views.

Trevor Phillips, documentary host and former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, described the findings as “extremely worrying”, adding that on many key issues Muslims were a “nation within a nation”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “On specific issues – families, sexuality, gender, attitudes towards Jews and on questions of violence and terrorism – the centre of gravity of British Muslim opinion is some distance away from the centre of gravity of everyone else’s opinion.

“One in six Muslims say they would like to live more separately, a quarter would like to live under sharia law. It means that as a society we have a group of people who basically do not want to participate in the way that other people [do].
“What we also found is that there is a correspondence between this desire to live separately and sympathy for terrorism.

"People who want to live separately are about twice as likely to say that they have sympathy for terrorist acts. Anybody, including most people in the Muslim community, would find that extremely worrying.”

In response to the findings, Jewish Leadership Council Chief Executive Simon Johnson said: “It is sad that ancient stereotypes still play out in society at large and in particular within parts of the Muslim community.

"This report shows a clear need for further education so that Jews, just for being Jewish, no longer suffer any form of prejudice or discrimination. We also need to continue with productive examples of inter-community cooperation, such as that between CST and Tell Mama UK. Examples such as these show the way that we can build a cohesive and inclusive society of which we are all proud.”

A Board of Deputies spokesman said: "If accurate, the findings are certainly disturbing and indicate that we need to redouble our efforts in the field of interfaith work and education to ensure that our communities are able to co-exist harmoniously.”

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