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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 September, 2004, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
'English crucial' for immigrants
Immigrants at passport control
Only 10% of whites said obeying UK laws was key to fitting in
More than half the members of ethnic minorities resident in Britain believe those settling in the UK should learn to speak English, a survey suggests.

More than 90% of 3,000 questioned said those arriving in Britain should not expect special treatment.

People of all races responded to the poll conducted on behalf of the Commission for Racial Equality.

Non-white people who replied had a more positive view of asylum seekers than white Britons.

Eleven per cent of non-whites said they had a high opinion of asylum seekers, compared with just 5% among the white population.

A significant minority of ethnic minority respondents said they had a low opinion of asylum seekers and other recent immigrants, as did 50% of white people taking part in the survey.

Immigrants 'too separate'

The poll, published in the News of the World, found a relatively high level of acceptance of ethnic minorities among white Britons, with 63% saying they had neither a high nor a low opinion of non-whites born in the UK.

Most British Muslims want nothing more than to be part of the community
Trevor Phillips
CRE chairman
A majority among both ethnic minorities (65%) and whites (70%) agreed that Britain's immigrant communities are too separate from mainstream society.

When it came to what was best for integration, there was little difference between the two groups.

Fifty-three per cent of non-whites and 60% of whites agreed that tolerance, diversity and trust were the key to successful integration.

More than half of non-whites (52%) agreed immigrants must speak English to integrate, compared to 46% of whites.

Only 10% of white people said it was vital to observe British laws and customs in order to fit in, compared to 21% among ethnic minorities.

Trevor Phillips, the CRE chairman, said that "far from wanting to live separately, most ethnic minority britons think we should mix more".

He told the newspaper: "Most British Muslims want nothing more than to be part of the community.

"Our poll shows that they feel just as strongly as the rest of us about terrorism, even if it is carried out in the name of Islam."

Labour loss

The poll suggested that Labour's traditional advantage among non-white voters may have been eroded, with just 25% of ethnic minority respondents saying they backed the party, against 17% who supported the Conservatives.

Islamist terrorists have gained little support among Britain's Muslim community, according to the poll, with just 3% of those questioned from an Asian background saying that militant groups were right to take on the West.

Some 42% of whites agreed Islamist terrorism posed "an extremely serious threat" along with 33% of all non-whites.

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