Only 19% of Britons are ashamed of British Empire

The British Empire

A new survey has found that only 19% of British people are ashamed of the British empire, which at its height colonised around a quarter of the world’s total land area.

The YouGov survey also found that 32% of Britons see the empire as more of a source of pride than shame; 37% are neither ashamed nor proud of it; and 12% don’t know.

Meanwhile, 33% of Britons said countries that had been colonised (which included at least 14 Muslim ones in the Middle East and Asia) were better off because of it; 21% said neither better nor worse off; and 17% said worse off.

And when asked if they still wished they had an empire, 27% of Britons said “yes” while 50% said “no.”

At its height, the British Empire was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people and by 1920 it covered 35,500,000 km2 of the Earth’s total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic, and cultural legacy is widespread.

Advocates of the British Empire say that it provided infrastructure to the colonised countries, and taught them the English language and the idea of democracy.

But critics say it raped and pillaged the economies of colonised nations, practised slavery, subordinated local cultures, and forced Christianity down their throats.

The survey also compared attitudes towards former empires among the public in seven other countries that used to have them: France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany (referring to the 1871-1918 German empire only).

The percentage of those expressing pride in their empires was 50% in France, 26% in France, 23% in Belgium, 21% in Italy, 18% in Japan, 11% in Spain and 9% in Germany.

The high percentage in Holland in particularly striking. Half of Dutch people said their old empire – of which Indonesia and part of South Africa were the most significant territories – is something to be more proud of than ashamed of; with another 37% saying they are neither proud nor ashamed. Only 6% believe the empire is something to be more ashamed of than proud.

The dominant emotion, however, tended to be one of indifference – aside from the Dutch, the most common attitude towards their country’s colonisations is one of neither pride nor shame. This figure is as high as 48% in France and 51% in Spain.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]

 

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT 5PILLARS

Add your comments below