Stark: how views towards Muslims differ among Britons

5:19 pm - June 21st 2013

by Sunny Hundal    

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YouGov did some polling on attitudes towards British Muslims, before and after the Woolwich attack.

Perhaps the most stark is the generational divide on attitudes towards British Muslims.

Polling also shows the EDL did not see their support increase after the Woolwich attacks.



via Matthew Goodwin

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

1. Shatterface

Perhaps the most stark is the generational divide on attitudes towards British Muslims.

Your graph seems to be missing 25-49 year olds.

2. Shatterface

Sorry, 59 year olds. We establish a generational trend see a trend when you skip several generations.

3. Shatterface

Sorry, 59 year olds. We can’t establish a generational trend when you skip several generations.

4. Shatterface

By which I mean for all we know we’re looking at two sets of outliers on a bell-curve.

5. Charlieman

The youngest people in the 60+ years cohort were 15 in 1968, so they grew up during the Summer of Love and the Prague Spring. The oldest might remember the General Strike of 1926 or more realistically had WWII childhoods.

So they’ve lived a bit and have experienced social change on a scale that most of us have not. They’ll have changed their minds about things many times during adulthood. Perhaps they’ll have become more socially conservative over the years (assuming that crude opinion polls are accurate), but relatively few will have performed a Kingsley Amis transformation from Communist to Thatcherite anti-semite.

“Stark polling figures” as demonstrated in the OP, show that older citizens, who are less likely to have community/friend links with Muslims, don’t like Muslims. But the evidence of their lives is frequent change to differing circumstances.

UK political parties do not develop policy based on opinion poll figures. Or that is what they say. At the same time, parties behave as if they cannot ask older people to think again.

6. Charlieman

@4. Shatterface: “By which I mean for all we know we’re looking at two sets of outliers on a bell-curve.”

I follow your reasoning, but I don’t think it is significant when dealing with such poor data. I don’t mean that the data research analysts were intentionally negligent but that too many questions are expected to be answered.

Take attitudes towards gay men as an example. During WWII and post war conscription, many straight men found themselves living under the same roof as poofs. Under the circumstances, the men had to “just get on with it”; some hated poofs, and others “just got on with it” becoming friends.

If you conducted a qualitative survey about poofs amongst 50+ and 80+ years men, I think the responses would be counter to common expectation.

Note also: the 60+ years cohort classifies a post middle ager who borrows indie rock CDs from the kids in the same way as a bewoolled frail person; it is a very disparate bunch of people.

7. Strategist

Indie rock CDs? Wot are dey, Grandad??

Am I right in th I being the second question is, tht the EDL are far right, how can sympathising with the EdL, make one be part of the far right.

9. Shatterface

I follow your reasoning, but I don’t think it is significant when dealing with such poor data. I don’t mean that the data research analysts were intentionally negligent but that too many questions are expected to be answered.

I’d agree it’s poor data.

Looking at this we could be seeing two age brackets who are unusually anti-Muslim while the missing 25-59 bracket, many of whom would have grown up in the PC but pre-Rushdie Eighties, might be unusually tolerent to Muslims (an inverted bell curve); or the 25-59 age bracket, being largely post-PC but pre-invasion of Afghanistan, might have a more negative attitude to Islam because they haven’t abandoned feminism or gay rights in the cause of anti-imperialism (which would give a traditional bell curve); or the results could be entirely flat from the 18-25 year olds to those born since the 60s and shoot up for those born in the 50s or earlier; or rise suddenly for the over 25s and stay that way; or it could be a sine wave, or spell out a rude word in farsi.

The under 25s might include a higher number of people who are Muslim themselves since they’re a younger population.

So altogether the most useless information I’ve seen this week.

10. Derek Hattons Tailor

I suspect this is as much a divide between urban – especially London – attitudes and provincial ones as a generational difference per se. Cities are on average younger and in cities multiculturalism is both the default and more likely to be seen as a defacto good thing. Having moved out of a city to the burbs in the last few years one of the first things you notice is the lack of diversity.
I suspect the large missing demographic have been deliberately omitted as they don’t fit the simplistic narrative of young = tolerant, old = reactionary. This demographic would also include the generation that have actually fought in Gulf conflicts.

11. Dissident

First graph:
As Shatterface has pointed out, there are flaws. It is difficult to see precisely what it is saying. Is it actually meant as 2 snapshots, or is there additional information that is omitted?

Second graph:
Shows how people who know about the EDL have reacted to the way they tried to take advantage of the Woolwich Murder. We knew they were knuckle walkers anyway, then they proved it! Yet the reduction in (already low) support for them wasn’t statistically significant.

Third graph:
Once more, no statistically significant change.

The conclusion I get from the second and third graphs is a bit like throwing a stone in a pond. A splash, some ripples then a return to what was there before. That leads to a question about the first. Is it meant to show things are changing over the decades, like the pond gradually leaking away?

Try this news headline in the Guardian in early June:

Burqa gang stole watches worth £1m from Selfridges

Stark: how views towards Muslims differ among Britons

As most Britons have no idea what Salafism is or what kinds of ideologies lie behind different sects and trends within British Islam, these reports are all rather by-the-by.

If you asked people their opinion of this story, many would not approve, so it’s just as well most people don’t follow these things that closely.
Concerns over online Qur’an teaching as ex-Pakistan militants instruct pupils

With his track record as a member of the political arm of a banned terrorist organisation, Mian Shahzib is unlikely to ever be given a visa to enter Britain.

But that does not stop the jovial 33-year-old from giving British children religious instruction every day from the comfort of his home in Pakistan.

I would guess that if people knew more about some of the reactionalry things many British mosques and Islamic centres were involved in, the figures in these polls would be different.

I know (for example) that the two main mosques in Dublin give alarmist sermons about ”The Zionist entity” as I went to them and heard them talking about Israel and it’s plans to ”destroy” the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Most Irish people would have no idea they talk about such things though. I went along just to see what went on there. I wasn’t impressed with that aspect.

14. Lewis Duckworth

These poll results merely show that the 18-24 age group have a lot of maturing ahead of them. By which time they’ll find they have far more muslims on the streets angry about summat or other and willing to use “Arab Spring” tactics to impose their demands upon Britainistan

as a former muslim i can say that i do believe that muslims do contribute, although the less religious they are the better. also, attacks like the woolwich one and terrorism of any kind are such bad PR from which muslims cannot hope to recover other than through outright rejection and cooperation against such events.

16. mylastpostwaseliminated

I am fascinated by Letters EDL cos if you read up on “MA_gnetic energy you will eventially come across ED Leedskalnin (ED:L)

This fits, cos Muslims in a Christian country are “POLES APART” in belief and action. We are very much ‘opposites’
(you can see why the zionist manipulator Wolves have let too many in – cause max agitation amongst the UK flocks)

If you look at iron filing picture of magnetic field structure,
the magnet forces form two ‘eyes’ with a central ‘chakra’ big brother 3rd eye structure in the middle!

I even agree with some muslim stuff, such as western women (manipulated/brainwashed by the zionist run ‘fashion industry’ “cos they’re WORTH it!”) sticking their mammaries in yer face everwhere is not ideal or very subtle!

17. Man on Clapham Omnibus

My attitude to religion has not been rocked by Woolwich thankfully. I will not be daunted in my belief that there are still faeries at the bottom of the garden

18. mylastpostwaseliminated

What about Unicorns on highest UK state Heraldry?

The elites ‘believe’

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