A YouGov poll has revealed that the British public associates the term “terrorism” with Muslims more than any other word.
The results of the poll, commissioned by the Islamic Relief charity, also suggest a decline in public sympathy for refugees and a particular lack of regard for refugees from the Middle East.
When respondents were asked “What three words/phrases do you associate with the term ‘Muslim’?’” 12% said “Terrorism.”
– 12% said Faith
– 11% said Mosque
– 9% said Quran
– 8% said Religious
– 8% said Islam
– 6% said Extremist
– 5% said Allah
– 5% Muhammad
– 5% said Prayer
– 5% said Misogynist
Other key findings of the poll include:
– A sharp decline in sympathy for refugees. 42% of those surveyed believed the UK should not provide refuge to those fleeing conflict and persecution – compared to 34% in favour.
– Only 29% of people agreed that the UK should provide refuge to people fleeing conflict and persecution in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. And 47% of the sample did not believe we should offer refuge to those fleeing conflict in the Middle East.
Islamic Relief said it is concerned that if negative public perceptions about Muslims and Middle Eastern refugees go unchallenged, global sympathy and support for those caught in conflict will decline at a time when humanitarian needs are enormous and UN budgets are chronically underfunded.
Islamic Relief’s UK Director, Jehangir Malik, said the results of the poll “are extremely worrying because they show that public attitudes towards Muslims are hugely negative and attitudes towards refugees have hardened significantly.
“Over 30 million refugees and others in the Middle East are in need of humanitarian aid, and the British Muslim community gives very generously to support charities in the forefront of delivering aid in places like Syria, Yemen, Gaza and Iraq – particularly during Ramadan.
“It’s time we celebrated the role British Muslims play as part of the solution rather than demonising the Muslim community as part of the problem.”
The poll findings are based on a survey conducted in the first week of June 2015 with a sample of 6,641 respondents.