British Muslims are becoming a nation within a nation, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned.
Commenting on a ground-breaking survey, Trevor Phillips said we are “in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims”.
He called for a new, tougher approach to integration and the abandonment of “the failed policy of multiculturalism".
The survey had made “one truly terrifying” conclusion that “Muslims who have separatist views about how they want to live in Britain are far more likely to support terrorism than those who do not”, added Mr Phillips, who ran the EHRC until 2012 and was previously in charge of the Commission for Racial Equality.
His comments came as the ICM survey for Channel 4, which surveyed 1,000 Muslims face-to-face, found that:
-One in 25 Muslims (four per cent) said they felt at least some sympathy with people who took part in suicide bombings, while a similar proportion said they had some sympathy with “people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest”.
-A quarter – 25 per cent – said they could understand why British school girls could be attracted to become “jihadi brides” overseas.
-Less than half (47 per cent) agreed that Muslims should do more to tackle the causes of extremism in the Muslim community.
-52 per cent believed homosexuality should not be legal in Britain, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and
-31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.
But the survey also found that a large majority of British Muslims – 86 per cent - felt a strong sense of belonging to Britain, compared with a national average of 83 per cent, and that among Muslims 91 per cent felt a strong sense of belonging to their local area - again, a higher finding than the national average of 76 per cent.
Mr Phillips, who analysed the poll findings for Channel 4, called for new approaches including limiting the presence of any ethnic minority group in schools to no more than 50 per cent.
The ethnic composition of housing estates should be monitored to prevent them becoming "ghetto villages", he added.
And political parties should no longer turning a “blind eye to appalling misdemeanours in return for votes from community leaders – so-called silence for-votes deals which created havoc in Rotherham and Rochdale and contributed to the grooming scandals in those towns”, suggested Mr Phillips.
He told the Daily Mail: “We have ‘understood’ too much, and challenged too little – and in doing so are in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims.
“In my view, we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism.”
Channel 4 claimed the survey was more “rigorous” than previous surveys of Muslim attitudes because interviews were conducted face-to-face rather than over the telephone and interviewees were permitted to hold up cards to indicate their opinions rather than speak them aloud, in case they found questions embarrassing or difficult.
“Looking deeper into the results …it also reveals significant differences on attitudes to violence and terrorism,” a Channel 4 spokesman said.
The programme, What British Muslims Really Think, is due to be shown on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesday.
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