Integration could reduce tensions between Muslim and Jewish communities, study shows

Charles Hymas
·2 min read

Nearly half of British Muslims harbour anti-semitic sentiments towards Jewish people, a poll has found, but the numbers plummet if there is integration between the two communities.  

The survey by Savanta-ComRes found 44 per cent of British Muslims agreed with the statement that British Jewish people tended to be more loyal to the UK than to Israel. Just 13 per cent of Muslims believe British Jews are more loyal to the UK than to Israel.  

The definition of anti-semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) includes accusing Jews of placing loyalty to Israel above their sympathies to their own nations.  

Dr Rakib Ehsan, research fellow at the think tank Henry Jackson Society, which publishes the study today, said it was evidence that “too many within British Muslim communities have been willing to indulge in anti-Semitic conspiracies.”  

However, the tensions between British Muslims and Jews were significantly reduced when they were more integrated and had more close friends from the other religious group.  

The poll of 750 Muslims found those with more close friends from the Jewish community were up to 12 per cent less likely to hold anti-semitic views towards Jews.  

Contrary to an oft-assumed belief that education alone is a solution to prejudicial attitudes, British Muslims with university degrees are more likely to believe in Jewish dual-loyalty.    

Nearly half (47 per cent) of degree-educated Muslims agreed with the above statement versus 40 per cent of those who did not attend university.  

Amongst Muslims who go to attend a mosque at least three times a week, 55 per cent believe British Jews are more loyal to Israel to the UK, and just 14 per cent believe the opposite to be true.  

Amongst the public at large, 24 percent believe that British Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the UK, according to an ICM Unlimited poll of more than 2,000 adults.    

The disparity in views between British Muslims and the wider population is especially stark amongst young people.  Forty per cent of British Muslims between 18-24 believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than the UK, compared to 17 per cent of the general population within the same age range.

Dr Ehsan said: 'The findings provide a degree of direction for both British Muslim communities and the UK Government.

'To effectively tackle the roots of Muslim anti-Semitism in the UK, local community cohesion plans must be developed and put in place to improve social integration and strengthen interfaith relations. This should be supported by community-based educational initiatives designed to counter anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-Jewish conspiratorial beliefs.”