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World

Almost 50% of Conservative Party members believe Islam is a 'threat to British way of life'

  • There continues to be widespread suspicion, prejudice, and hostility against Muslims, both within the party itself and in the general public.
01 Oct 2020

According to a poll conducted by YouGov and ‘Hope not Hate’, comprising of 1213 members (both former and current) of the Conservative Party, there continues to be widespread suspicion, prejudice, and hostility against Muslims both within the party itself and in the general public - despite the fact that the Conservative Party has publicly denied that it has a seething Islamophobia problem.

Among the post’s alarming findings, it can be deduced that 57% of party members hold a negative attitude towards the Muslim community, with 21% even registering a very negative and hostile attitude. Furthermore, it can also be observed that while there has been a documented history of prejudice against Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and other minority groups within the British political spectrum, the negative attitude towards Muslims completely eclipses that against Hindus and Jewish people (approximately 3%).

Approximately half of the members of the Conservative Party (47%) strongly believe that “Islam is a threat to the British way of life”, with a significant 58% believing ludicrous conspiracy theories (which have been propagated by the far-right elements in the British media) as “there are no-go areas in Britain in which Sharia Law dominates, and non-Muslims cannot enter”. These sentiments are even more prevalent with sub-polled within members of the party who advocated for Boris Johnson’s leadership position, rising to 66% - as Johnson has been frequently accused of aligning with the far-rights elements in the Conservative Party, and subtly propagating Islamophobic and anti-immigrant hysteria (especially during the Brexit vote).

This sort of hysteria is not uncommon in the Conservative Party, especially in the aftermath of the controversial Brexit vote, when loud anti-immigrant voices (such as Nigel Farage) were integrated into a process that could determine the foreseeable economic and political future of the Union - which encouraged a steady flow of blatant Islamophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric in the country. However, the perception that the Muslim community does not abide by the “law of the land” and are bound to get involved in criminal activities is vehemently inaccurate. As shown in a Cambridge University study, 61.3% of a sample in the Muslim community rated their local police as “good” or “excellent”, compared to 53% of non-Muslims.

The YouGov report adds that over one-third of Conservative Party members thought the hostility shown by Islamist terrorist groups towards Britain (and in extension, the West) is widely reflected amongst the Muslim community in the country, compared to the 53% who believe that it is wrong the blame the actions of a violent minority on the community as a whole. However, this opinion was noticeably split amongst Boris Johnson supporters, with 44% responding with the former, and 46% with the latter. As mentioned earlier, the Conservative Party holds increasingly negative attitudes towards multiculturalism and immigration, with only a meagre 10% of the respondents accepting that British society is racist, and 56% stating that it has had a negative impact upon British culture, despite being the driving force behind their economic growth.