Middle-class Brits more likely to be Islamophobic, survey finds

General view of the Jame Masjid mosque in Spinney Hill, Leicester.
General view of the Jame Masjid mosque in Spinney Hill, Leicester.

A University of Birmingham report showed more 23 per cent of upper and middle class people surveyed held prejudiced views about Muslims

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A University of Birmingham survey has found that middle and upper class Britons are more likely to hold Islamophobic views than working class Brits.

The UoB data showed that 23.2 per cent of upper and middle-class Britons have prejudiced opinions about Islamic beliefs compared with 18.4 per cent of working class people.

The research, entitled The Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain, suggested that Britons are almost three times more likely to harbour Islamophobic positions than they of other religions.

More 20 per cent of Britons falsely believe the Qu'ran must be read literally according to the survey.

The lead academic who worked on the UoB study, Dr Stephen Jones, said: "It’s the people from an upper and middle class background, who presumably are university educated, who feel more confident in their judgments but [are] also more likely to make an incorrect judgment."

"It’s almost like because they’re more educated, they’re also more miseducated, because that’s the way Islam is presented in our society."

The report was based on interviews with 1,667 people in July 2021.

Reported in The Guardian, Dr Jones said: "There’s a lack of criticism that follows Islamophobia, and that seems to correspond to the way in which Islamophobia is dealt with in public life."

"The survey shows quite clearly it’s a very widespread prejudice. But it’s just not given the same kind of seriousness as other forms of prejudice.

"People who work in public office, whether MPs or councillors, who have got away with saying things about Muslims that they simply would not get away with if they were talking about other kinds of minority.

"That’s not to say those other issues don’t need to be taken seriously as well, it’s simply to say that this particular form of prejudice doesn’t get due recognition."

He went on: "No one is calling for laws regulating criticism of religion, but we have to recognise that the British public has been systematically miseducated about Islamic tradition and take steps to remedy this."