Muslim who appeared in Channel 4 doc says it’s bad for community cohesion

One of the participants in last night’s Trevor Phillips Channel 4 documentary about British Muslims has said she feels the way the survey findings have been interpreted are “damaging to community cohesion.” 

Anjum Anwar, who works as a Dialogue Development Officer at Blackburn Cathedral, also said she wasn’t aware that Philips would be fronting the documentary or commenting on the findings.

In a statement made before the documentary was broadcast, Anwar said: “I wish to make it clear that I participated in good faith and believed the survey would be beneficial to community cohesion. I was not, at the time of interview, aware, nor informed that Mr. Trevor Philips would be presenting and commenting on it.

“Having seen the comments and remarks around the survey on the social media and newspapers I am deeply disappointed about the manner in which the survey and its findings has been presented. It seems that the information has been presented in a manner which is damaging to community cohesion as shown by lengthy comments of hate appearing on the social media.

“In my opinion the survey has been presented in a manner which is damaging to community cohesion and which reinforces stereotypes and prejudices about the Muslim Communities. Those who know me will be aware that whilst I am challenging I would never participate in any activity that will damage community cohesion.  Phrases like ‘nation-within a nation- is divisive and will not build bridges. Constructive criticism is always welcomed but it has to be through honest conversation.”

The documentary was broadcast after Channel 4 commissioned polling company ICM to conduct a survey purporting to reflect how Muslims in the UK view their role in a multicultural society.

Fronted by Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, 1000 British Muslims were quizzed, while ICM also sampled a control group made up of people of all ethnicities and religions.

Phillips said that British Muslims risk creating “nations within a nation,” and “that they would rather live more separately from their non-Muslim countrymen.” He argued there is a growing chasm between the conservative attitudes of British Muslims and the liberal beliefs of their compatriots.

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