Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 16:54 UK

Survey reveals Muslim attitudes

British Muslim women in London. File photo
Some 5,000 Muslims in several European countries were polled in 2008

European Muslims have much more loyalty to the countries they live in than is generally believed, a survey says.

The report by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation says 77% of British Muslims identified with the UK, compared with 50% of the general public.

There was a similar finding in Germany, the survey says.

The authors say their report counters a commonly-held view that measures to combat Islamic militancy may have alienated many European Muslims.

"This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration are wide of the mark," said Dalia Mogahed of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and co-author of the report.

"European Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute even more to society," she said.

The findings of the report are surprising, because since the 11 September attacks in the US commentators have repeatedly questioned the loyalties of European Muslims to the countries they live in, the BBC's Rob Broomby says.

The research - which focused mainly on European Muslims in Britain, France and Germany - polled around 500 Muslims and 1,000 members of the general public in each country.

'Isolated'

In Britain, the report found that more than three-quarters of Muslims identified with the country and its institutions - far more even than the general population did.

But whereas the vast majority of British Muslims (82%) felt Muslims were loyal citizens, the general public remained suspicious of them.

In Germany, 40% of Muslims identified with the country against 32% of the wider public.

German Muslims were also found far more likely than the general public to have confidence in the judicial system, financial institutions and the honesty of elections.

They had higher levels of confidence in their national government than society as a whole, but much less faith in the media.

In France, 52% of Muslims identified with the country, compared with 55% of the general public.

However, the report found that French Muslims had much less confidence in the nation's institutions, including police.

The survey also said that European Muslims felt far more isolated than those living in the United States and Canada.



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