Check out the other results, too. “War torpedoes Labour’s Muslim backing,” from the Asian News, with thanks to Anthony:
The special poll based on a survey of 500 British Muslims found that a clear majority want Islamic law introduced into this country in civil cases relating to their own community. Some 61 per cent wanted Islamic courts – operating on sharia principles — “so long as the penalties did not contravene British law”. A major part of civil cases in this country deal with family disputes such as divorce, custody and inheritance.
The poll also found a high level of religious observance with just over half saying they pray five times a day, every day – although women are shown to be more devout than men. The poll reveals that 88 per cent want to see schools and workplaces in Britain accommodating Muslim prayer times as part of their normal working day.
The poll suggests that the Muslim community is perhaps more integrated than many might imagine, with 62 per cent say they number “a lot or quite a few” non-Muslim people among their closest friends and 35 per cent saying they would consider marrying someone who was not a Muslim.
There is also a strong appetite within the Muslim community to become a closer part of British life with 40 per cent saying they need to do more to integrate into mainstream British culture.
The ICM poll was commissioned as part of a groundbreaking Guardian exercise to gauge the mood of Britain’s younger Muslim generation. In addition to the poll, 103 young Muslims were brought together to discuss the most important issues facing their future, from identity and integration to the war on terror.
The idea of sharia courts in Britain is likely to cause considerable controversy, but religious courts already operate in this country to serve other faith communities such as the Jewish rabbinical courts. Such courts have limited powers of enforcement of their rulings.
On other matters, the poll however shows that there is something of a crisis in the leadership of British Muslims with only 37 per cent saying they think that Muslim religious leaders or the Muslim Council of Britain reflect their own views.
It confirms the overwhelming rejection of violence among British Muslims with 86 per cent saying they believe it is unacceptable for religious or political groups to use violence for political ends. A further 69 per cent believe it is right that they should inform on people who are involved or connected with terrorist activities.
However, there is no such unanimity on the question of whether girls should be able to wear the hijab to school. While 55 per cent say they believed schools should not have the right to determine the dress codes of pupils, a significant minority of British Muslims – 44 per cent – thought they should be able to lay down such a policy on what is worn to school.
See below for other poll results.
President Bush and Tony Blair have said that the war on terror is not a war against Islam. Do you agree or disagree? March 2004 / Now
Agree 20% 14%
Disagree 68% 80%
Don’t know 12% 6%
Have you experienced any hostility or abuse towards you personally in the UK or any member of your family from non-Muslims because of your religion? June 2002 March 2004 Now
Yes 35% 33% 38%
No 65% 67% 61% Don’t know – – 1%
There should be a new law to make incitement to religious hatred a criminal offence Agree 81%
Don’t know 4%
Despite the right to free speech, In Britain people who insult or criticise Islam should face criminal prosecution Agree 58%
Don’t know 5%