AN ANALYSIS of British Muslims and white non-Muslims (WNMs) socio-political beliefs has warned that “Islamist and far-right ideas are resonating with young people in the UK”.
The report by Tony Blair Institute for Global Change also highlighted that 13 per cent of both groups believed using violent ways to bring about the change they desired could be justified to some extent.
About 15 per cent of Muslims and 9 per cent of WNMs said “people should be prepared to go out to fight to defend their religion or culture with force”.
The study, based on a survey by Savanta ComRes, found one in five young people from both groups believed there was an “unresolvable conflict between Islam and the west” — with one feeling “victimised” and the other “threatened”.
Nearly one in five young WNMs believed British culture was “under threat from invasion”, flagging concerns over the “spread of extremist conspiracy theories”.
About 14 per cent of WNMs aged between 18 and 30 held a false notion that there “no-go areas where Sharia law operates” in the UK, and almost the same proportion believed that “Islam promotes violence”.
Even as the population England and Wales was 86 per cent white, more than one in 10 WNMs said white people were “a minority in Britain”.
The report said two-fifths of WNMs held antagonistic views towards Islam, and a “small minority stray into clear white supremacist views such as that all Brits should strive to ensure our country is white [7 per cent] and that you are not truly British unless you are white [6 per cent]”.
Meanwhile, one-third of British Muslim believed the community was “systematically targeted in the UK and globally”, with 18 per cent opining that British society was “intrinsically anti-Muslim”.
The report underscored that extremist groups could “exploit” the prevalent discrimination against Muslims in the UK “to promote their worldviews”.
Notably, the findings, reported by the Independent, came amid global racial tensions, and spread of extreme, polarising views.
The survey, carried out in 2019, found one-fifth of both categories adhering to “extreme positions across themes depicting Islam and the west in conflict”.
Analysts cautioned that such groups had the “potential to develop more radcialised views”. They also pointed to “shifts” in ideologies amid issues such as the pandemic, mass anti-racism protests, and migrant channel crossings.