Both the Guardian and the Times have posts on Gallup’s Co-exist Index 2009.
The Times headline emphasises the more positive finding that Muslims in the UK identify more strongly with British institutions than do the rest of the population. The Guardian goes for the more sensational but still very important finding that British Muslims are much less socially liberal than French and German Muslims.
If you read the whole report, rather than the Gallup press release, you find many other more interesting bits of information in a worldwide survey. For example, the least tolerant (or as I would put it the most bigoted) people in the whole world are Israelis. On page 14 of the report:
Israelis are the least likely of the populations surveyed in the region to report they always treat members of other faiths with respect and are among the least likely to feel they are respected by others. They are also the least likely to agree that most religious faiths make a positive contribution to society
You can download the full report here:
Of course, what Gallup’s opinion survey cannot tell you is why the groups surveyed hold their opinions. But we should not pretend that the extreme intolerance of homosexuality by British muslims is not a problem.
I reject the reports attempt to distinguish between “Eros and Demos”. (p30)
Although European Muslims not only accept but also welcome the freedoms, democratic institutions, justice, and human rights that characterize their societies, their perceived lack of integration is often explained by their rejection of liberal, sexual mores. Some researchers point out that the greatest differences between Muslims and Westerners lie more in eros than demos. In other words, the Muslim-West gap rests on differences in attitudes toward sexual liberalisation and gender issues rather than democracy and governance
Here the report pulls its punches. The questions asked frame differences in terms of attitude to sexual practices. It does not ask key questions like “Should a woman have the right to vote as she wishes irrespective of the views of her husband or father?”, or “Should a wife obey her husband in all things?,” or “Should a husband’s career take precedence?”.
Those questions would be much more useful in terms of determining whether there are gender issues which stray over from the realm of Eros to the realm of Demos – and I strongly suspect there are.
One of the worst things to happen to British democracy – completely deliberately by New Labour – is the coming together of the patriarchal system of British Muslim communities with the introduction of mass postal voting. If anyone pretends that the result has not been fraud on a massive scale and the effective disenfranchisement of Muslim women and subordinate males through loss of the secret ballot, they are a complete fool. The survey does nothing to illuminate this aspect.
But it is worth noting that several other religious groups display as much intolerance as the Muslims. I don’t think you would find sexual tolerance any better among Lodon’s numerous “Charismatic” christian groups, for example.
With all those caveats, the report has year on year shown much greater coincidence between socio-gender attitudes of Muslims, compared to the rest of the population, in Germany and France than in Britain. Ghettoisation is a huge problem in the UK, but I am not sure it is any less in Germany. What France does much better than the UK is integrated education. Tony Blair’s obsession with Faith schools was a disaster on every level. In Blackburn I witnessed apartheid – all white schools within a mile of all Asian schools. The truth is that Labour have fostered separate Muslim communities for a generation as a secure vote bank. The result is a disaster for social cohesion.
A comment below by Jungle points out that the different ethnic background of British Muslims may be in large part responsible for the differences in attitudes to French and German Muslims, due to the preponderance of Pakistanis here.
In fact that had been my initial reaction too, but I partially rejected it for the following reason. If you look at the same survey for 2007, the results and the differences between British and European Muslims are almost identical. But the 2007 survey, unlike the 2009 survey, makes explicit that poling was carried out only in capitals – London, Paris and Berlin. Inside London itself, Britain’s Muslim community is very ethnically diverse, with for example a very large and well established Turkish and Turkish Cypriot community, a big pre-evolutionary Iranian committee etc. We almost forget they are “Muslim” because they are so Europeanised. The Gallup methodology makes plain that Turkish and Iranian were among the languages used for interviews. The fact they still did not find one British Muslim prepared to tolerate homosexuality is therefore significant – they were not only interviewing Pakistanis.
Yes, I am sure ethnic differences are a factor. But they are not the only factor; and even if they were, they would not make the attitudes any more cceptable.