The largest survey of Muslim women in the UK

A poll of 1,000 British Muslim women finds they are both religiously observant and keen shoppers at Primark: A unique and groundbreaking “1000 Sisters’ voices” survey carried out by Ummah Foods, a “new generation” British Muslim food company, and by SISTERS, the inspirational new magazine for Muslim women, has found that, while an overwhelming majority view Islam as their guide to life, read the Qur’an and observe hijab, they also shop at high street stores, go out to eat and travel regularly. The picture that emerges is one of a population balancing the demands of their faith with the opportunities afforded by life in the UK. Khalid Sharif, founder of Ummah Foods, and Na’ima B. Robert, editor of SISTERS Magazine, began asking some interesting questions about the lives of Muslim women in the UK so they could improve their products for them. The result has been a groundbreaking look at the thoughts, opinions and ideas of Muslim women in the UK. The survey, which is the largest ever, gathered respondents from all walks of life, from around the UK, all eager to give their views on issues as diverse as their relationship with Islam, their opinions of hijab, halal shopping, Internet use, entrepreneurship and of course Muslim men and marriage. One of the most surprising findings was that British Muslim women, married and unmarried, are still romantics at heart. Finding a soul mate and settling down in a happy family environment were top of the women’s list with 96 per cent of women saying that this is what marriage meant to them. But they were also keen to find ways of successfully combining work with family life. As in all communities everywhere, the respondents believed that “good men are hard to find”. Education, personality and a high affinity with the principles of Islam were top of most lists. Also of interest to Muslim men is the fact that, while character and Islamic knowledge come top of the Muslim woman’s wish list, racial background is ranked as one of the least important aspects. Outside of family life, finding ways of helping to resolve the challenges facing the British Muslim Community far outweighed thoughts or concerns about global issues with 70 per cent opting for issues in the UK with the remaining looking to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Full-text article available here. (Some news sites may require registration)

Barack Obama Holds Lead Among Arab American Vote

Democratic US presidential candidate Barack Obama holds a substantial 21-point lead over Republican candidate John McCain among Arab American voters. Obama’s lead is one of the findings of a recent poll taken in the second week of September of Arab American voters, by Zogby International. The poll also found that Obama’s 54% to 33% lead over McCain was related to important issues – from jobs/economy, Iraq/peace/foreign affairs, and health care – in this particular order.

Zogby poll page available here.

Antisemitism and Islamophobia rising across Europe, survey finds

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise across Europe, according to a survey of global opinion released yesterday. In contrast to the US and Britain where unfavourable opinion of Jews has been stable and low for several years at between 7 and 9%, the Pew Survey of Global Attitudes found that hostile attitudes to Jews were rising all across continental Europe from Russia and Poland in the east to Spain and France in the west. The survey found that suspicion of Muslims in Europe was considerably higher than hostility to Jews, but that the increase in antisemitism had taken place much more rapidly. “Great Britain stands out as the only European country included in the survey where there has not been a substantial increase in antisemitic attitudes,” the survey found.

Antisemitism has more than doubled in Spain over the past three years, with a rise from 21% to 46%, the survey of almost 25,000 people across 24 countries found, while more than one in three Poles and Russians also had unfavourable opinions of Jews. In the same period antisemitism in Germany and France also rose – from 21% to 25% in Germany and from 12% to 20% in France among those saying they had unfavourable opinions of Jews. “Opinions of Muslims in almost all of these countries was were more negative than are views of Jews,” analysts said. While Americans and Britons displayed the lowest levels of antisemitism, one in four in both countries were hostile to Muslims. Such Islamophobia was lower than in the rest of Europe. More than half of Spaniards and half of Germans said that they did not like Muslims and the figures for Poland and France were 46% and 38% for those holding unfavourable opinions of Muslims. Ian Traynor reports.

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Pew Report

International Herald Tribune

Middle East Online

Daily Times

Guardian

INED Study Claims a Growing Number of French Muslims Attend Religious Services

Of the 10,079 respondents in France in an INED (French National Institute of Demographic Studies) poll who were recently asked, ¨What is your religious adherence?” only 7% claimed to participate in a faith tradition. A growing number of respondents responded “no religion.” While the number of Catholics continues to decline, the study points to an increasing number of Muslims. Less than 2% of those Muslims who were reported were between 65-79 years-old, while 7% were between 18-24 years-old. 34% of Muslim men and 14% of Muslim women claim they visit their religious centre more than twice a month.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration).

INED study available here.

Muslims in Berlin, London, and Paris: Bridges and Gaps in Public Opinion

Gallup’s recent surveys of Muslims in London, Paris, and Berlin point to the need for greater understanding between Europe’s Muslim residents and the broader societies in which they live. But these surveys also offer plenty of evidence that the foundation for that understanding is already in place.

Muslims in Europe: Basis for Greater Understanding Already Exists (April 30, 2007)

Values Questions Set European Muslims Apart (April 27, 2007)

European Muslims Show No Conflict Between Religious and National Identities (April 26, 2007)

Executive Summary (PDF) 

Turks in Germany feel unwelcome

Over half of Turks living in Germany feel like unwanted guests. The survey was released ahead of the German Islam Conference on Thursday, March 13, where the thorny topic of integration tops the agenda. Over three quarters of the Turks surveyed, both with and without German passports, said German Chancellor Angel Merkel didn’t adequately represent those in Germany with a Turkish background. The report, based on 400 responses, was published in the Wednesday edition of Die Zeit.

Ninety-two percent said they thought that “Turks in Germany should preserve their own culture,” and nearly as many (89 percent) felt that German society should be more considerate about the customs of Turkish immigrants. Nevertheless, a sweeping majority (83 percent) considered the German language a key to success as an immigrant and two-thirds didn’t regret their decision to come to Germany.

Read full-text article (in German).

View report (in German)

Islamophobia increasing in the Netherlands

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance released a new report on February 12th, 2008 saying that Islamophobia is gaining ground in the Netherlands, with Muslims and minorities facing increasing discrimination and violence. The report also decries the tone of debate about ethnic minorities in Dutch politics and media. Positive findings concede that progress has been made in a number of the fields highlighted in its previous report from 2000, citing that the Netherlands has become party to several international instruments working to combat racism and racial discrimination. The establishment of a network of local anti-discrimination bureaus is underway in the country, and efforts have been made to record and counter discrimination in the criminal justice system. Criticisms, however, include that recommendations in previous reports have only been partially implemented. Recommendations in the current report suggest that authorities take further action in a number of areas, particularly concerning public debate on integration and polarization in the country, taking steps to counter xenophobic discourse in politics, consistent opposition to all manifestations of Islamophobia, and the reviewing of policies in light of the prohibition of direct and indirect racial discrimination.

CAIR releases Results of Muslim Voter Survey: Poll finds 80% of Muslim voters will participate in presidential primaries

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today released the results of a national survey indicating that Muslim voters are civically engaged, remain well integrated in American society and are politically active. Although most are still undecided on their pick for the next president, nearly 80 percent said they would vote in the primaries.

The survey, commissioned by the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, asked 1,000 registered Muslim voters about their demographic profiles, political views and levels of social integration. Respondents were randomly drawn from a pool of some 400,000 registered Muslim voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

The survey’s results show a family-oriented, highly-educated and diverse group of voters who condemn terrorism and believe anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is a serious problem.

The poll also shows that the more devout Muslim voters are also those who are most likely to believe that Islam and modernity are compatible.

Respondents were asked which issues will most influence their vote. Education was the top pick indicated by 89 percent, followed by civil rights (86 percent), health care policy (85 percent) and the economy (85 percent).

“Our survey shows that most Muslim voters are still undecided on their preferred presidential candidate, yet are politically engaged and extremely likely to vote,” said CAIR spokeswoman Amina Rubin. “This means that a potential bloc of Muslim swing voters in several battleground states is ready to support a candidate who will commit to acting on issues that concern America’s Muslims.”

CAIR’s survey also indicated that many Muslim voters are concentrated in 10 states: California, 19 percent; New York, 13 percent; Illinois, 10 percent; Texas, 9 percent; Virginia, 7 percent; Michigan, 6 percent; Florida, 6 percent; Maryland, 5 percent; Pennsylvania, 4 percent; and Ohio, 3 percent.

The full results of CAIR’s survey may be viewed here.

France’s Muslims becoming more religious

France’s Muslim minority, the largest in Europe, is becoming more observant, a new survey by the polling group IFOP said. Religiosity indicators such as following daily prayers, visiting mosques, and fasting Ramadan seemed to be increasing in Muslims partaking in the tenants. The rise appears to reflect a reaction to the discrimination felt by Muslims in France, as new mosques are being built around the country. An alternatively proposed reasoning is that it is easier to practice Islam in France, thanks to the building of many new mosques.

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Reuters

Earth Times

View PDF of poll View PDF of poll (Courtesy of IFOP)

German Study on Muslim Viewpoints

A German study has revealed that while many Muslims in Germany have fundamentalist viewpoints, a large majority rejects terrorist attacks.

Commissioned by Germany’s Interior Ministry, the study found that four out of 10 Muslims in Germany would justify the use of violence in case Islam was threatened by the West. The study, which questioned 1,750 Muslims all over the country, was carried out by the Institute of Criminology at the University of Hamburg.

It also found that nearly half of all Muslims living in German believe they will be granted entry to paradise if they die defending their religion.

However, an overwhelming majority of Muslims living in Germany reject terrorism. More than 80 percent reject the idea of suicide bombings, with nearly 9 percent claiming such attacks are cowardly and damaging for Islam.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s top security official, told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper the findings showed a “serious potential for Islamic radicalization.” Sociology experts, however, argue that the high level of social marginalization experienced by young Muslims and their lack of chances to succeed in society drive them toward radical views.