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British voters still concerned about Arabs in Britain

British voters still concerned about Arabs in Britain

Categories: Latest News

Thursday September 28 2017

A survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Arab News evidences the concerns of British voters towards Arabs and Islam, underlying the tensions between different segments of UK society.

The poll, which sampled 2,142 adults in August 2017, reveals that 63% of respondents believe that Arabs who migrated to the UK have failed to integrate in Western societies and live in isolated communities. Those who voted Conservative in the 2017 general election and “leave” in the 2016 EU referendum are more likely to mistrust Arab immigrants, with over 90% of Brexit supporters agreeing that Britain should take in fewer refugees.

Only 28% of respondents believe Arab migrants bring a positive contribution to British society, with 41% disagreeing with the statement. Once again, Conservative and pro-leave voters are more likely to believe immigration is not beneficial for British society.

Significantly, 55% of respondents support racial profiling against Muslims for security reasons, and only 24% disagree. Racial profiling is based on the working assumption that ethnic, religious or national groups are more likely to commit offences in the UK. 72% of Conservative voters, the survey reveals, support racial profiling.

The vast majority of respondents, 81%, confessed that they have very limited knowledge or no knowledge at all of the Arab world, yet they hold strong opinions about Britain’s involvement in the Middle East. For example, a staggering 83% believe that Britain was wrong to go to war in Iraq in 2003; 58% believe that British foreign policy in the Arab world has not been a stabilising force in the region; and 57% believe that British foreign policy in the Arab world has been ineffective in upholding human rights and promoting global security.

In addition, 52% of respondents associate Arab culture with strict gender roles, and 23% with extremism. In this context, 50% believe that the UK media provides just the right amount of coverage of the Arab world, and only 30% think it is not enough.

As commented by Faisal J Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News, “these opinions are based on very limited knowledge about the region…One may ask what impact such perceptions might have on aid decisions made by western governments.”

Finally, the survey shows that 72% of respondents believe that Islamophobia is increasingly becoming an issue in Britain. In this regard, 70% of respondents believe that anti-refugee statements by politicians, commentators, and public figures increase the risk of hate crimes in the UK. This figure rose to 84% among supporters of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party, and 87% among those who voted “remain” in the 2016 EU referendum.

MEND provides support for anyone who has suffered from Islamophobic discrimination or hate crimes. You can contact the Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) here.

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