More than half of Britons now regard Muslims as a threat to the UK, a poll for The Huffington Post UK has found.
The research, conducted by YouGov, also showed that more than three quarters of people surveyed – 79% – believe another attack on the scale of 7/7 in Britain is likely.
And the figures reveal there has been a large decrease in the proportion of people who think multiculturalism benefits Britain.
The research found 56% of people think Islam is a “major” or “some” threat to Western liberal democracy – a notable rise from just 46% of people who said the same thing in a poll taken the day after the attacks on London’s transport network on July 7, 2005.
Over a quarter of people (27%) said they saw Islam as a “major threat” to Western liberal democracy, a jump from 19% who said the same in a YouGov poll conducted on the day after the 7/7 bombings.
The new poll also reveals a decrease in proportion of people agreeing that most British Muslims were “peaceful, law-abiding citizens who deplore terror attacks in the name of Islam”.
More people – 15% – now agree with the statement that “a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to this country” and are prepared to “condone or even carry out acts of terrorism”. A decade ago, only 10% of people agreed with this statement.
Support for multiculturalism has also plunged, the poll suggested, with just 37% of those asked feeling that it made Britain a better place to live, but 38% said it make the country worse.
The HuffPost UK poll also showed stark variations in how threatened British people felt by Islam based on political party affiliation, socio-economic group, age and region.
Young, wealthy and left-wing people are more likely to have a positive view of the religion. Over half (54%) of 18 to 24-year-olds say Islam is not a threat to Western liberal democracy, while just a third (34%) feel it is a threat, rising to 71% of people over 60.
Less than half (43%) of “ABC1s” – those in the top three socio-economic groups – say Islam is not a threat, but only 27% of ‘C2DE’s’, the lowest three groups, agree.
People living in London, where the 7/7 attacks took place, were among the least likely to see Islam as a threat to liberal democracy.
Only 41% of Londoners felt the religion was a threat, compared with 61% in the rest of the south of England, 60% in the Midlands and Wales, 59% in the north and 44% of Scots.
The poll found 83% of Ukip voters regard Islam as a threat, compared with 63% of Tories and 47% of both Labour and Liberal Democrat voters.