UK Muslims more anti-Semitic than general population, poll finds

Julie Wiener

An anti-Israel advertisement posted on the British Underground in London, England, Feb. 22, 2016 (Screenshot from Channel 2)

An anti-Israel advertisement posted on the British Underground in London, Feb. 22, 2016. (Screenshot from Channel 2)

(JTA) — A poll of British Muslims revealed that they are more anti-Semitic than the general population, and also differ from the larger community on numerous social issues.

The poll was conducted for a television documentary that will air Wednesday called “What British Muslims Really Think.”

According to reports in several British media outlets, the poll found that while 6 percent of the British population in a parallel poll believed Jews are “responsible for most wars,” more than 25 percent of Muslim respondents held that view. In addition, nearly 40 percent of the Muslims polled said Jews had “too much control over global affairs,” a view held by just 10 percent of the overall British population.

READ: Muslim mayoral candidate in London slams Labour for failing to address anti-Semitism


The poll of Muslims also found that more than one-third believe Jews talk too much about the Holocaust, 30 percent believe Jews “think they are better than other people” and 40 percent believe Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to the UK.”

Asked if they believed anti-Semitism is a problem in the UK, 25 percent of respondents said yes.

Some British Muslim leaders are questioning the poll‘s accuracy, however, with one scholar saying it interviews Muslims only in areas where they are 20 percent or more of the population and thus less likely to be integrated into the larger British culture. Writing in the Guardian, a leader of the Muslim Council of Britain called the poll “skewed” and “divisive.”

According to London’s Jewish News, a statement from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said the poll showed that interfaith initiatives had “failed to stop high levels of Muslim anti-Semitism,” adding: “British Muslims hold deeply anti-Semitic views. … We note the shocking levels of anti-Jewish opinion, including several conspiracy theory based beliefs about Jews and power, money, business and the media.”

READ: Labour Muslim lawmaker in Britain suspended for praising Hitler, other anti-Semitic tweets

The poll also found that large numbers of British Muslims believe Jews wield too much power: 40 percent said Jews have too much power over financial markets and 39 percent said the same about the media.

“It is sad that ancient stereotypes still play out in society at large and in particular within parts of the Muslim community,” Jewish Leadership Council leader Simon Johnson said, according to the Jewish News. “This report shows a clear need for further education.”

According to London’s Jewish Chronicle, the poll also found sharp differences between Muslim opinion and general British opinion on homosexuality and women’s rights. For example, half of respondents said homosexuality should be illegal, while 39 percent agreed with the statement that “wives should always obey their husbands” and 31 percent thought it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife, The Guardian reported.

While their views differed from their non-Muslim countrymen, the Muslims polled expressed positive feelings about the United Kingdom, with 88 percent saying Britain was a good place for Muslims and 86 percent saying they feel a strong sense of belonging in the country.

The poll was conducted in person in the spring of 2015 with a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across the country. For comparison, the pollsters also interviewed by phone a representative sample of 1,008 British people.

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