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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Conservative Party poll: Majority view Islam as threat to British way of life

Nick Lowles, founder of Hope Not Hate, characterizes the current state of affairs as a battle for the soul of the Conservative Party.

Recent polling conducted by Opinium has shed light on the prevailing sentiments within the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom regarding Islam and immigration. The findings reveal a significant schism between the views held by party members and those of the broader population. With 58 percent of Conservative Party members perceiving Islam as a threat to the British way of life, compared to 52 percent believing in the false notion of Shariah law-controlled “no-go zones” in European cities, it’s evident that Islamophobia and misconceptions about Islam are deeply entrenched within the party.

Growing Controversies

The poll results coincide with recent controversies involving Conservative Party figures. MP Lee Anderson’s dismissal following his inflammatory remarks about London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s divisive comments linking pro-Palestine protests to extremism, highlight the divisive rhetoric permeating the party. Such statements not only fuel Islamophobic sentiments but also exacerbate tensions within an already polarized political landscape.

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Immigration and Multiculturalism 

Opinium’s findings also highlight the Conservative Party’s stance on immigration and multiculturalism. Conservative members are twice as likely as the general population to hold negative views towards immigrants, with approximately three-quarters believing that immigration has been detrimental to the UK, and expressing skepticism about the success of multiculturalism. These attitudes reveal a deep-seated apprehension towards demographic shifts and cultural diversity, further complicating the discourse surrounding national identity and integration.

Singh Review and Questions of Institutional Islamophobia

While the Conservative Party was cleared of allegations of institutional Islamophobia in the 2021 Singh Review, criticisms persist regarding the inquiry’s scope and effectiveness. Sajjad Karim, a former Conservative MEP, highlights a concerning trend dating back to 2012-2013, suggesting that the party’s failure to address Islamophobic rhetoric has allowed it to fester. The Singh Review’s outcome, perceived by some as giving tacit approval to discriminatory attitudes, emphasizes the need for more robust measures to combat Islamophobia within party ranks.

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Nick Lowles, founder of Hope Not Hate, characterizes the current state of affairs as a battle for the soul of the Conservative Party, with the radical right gaining ground. The hardening of views within the party, as evidenced by the widening gap between conservative members and the general population, highlights the urgency of addressing Islamophobia and xenophobia. Failure to do so risks alienating diverse communities and perpetuating divisions that undermine social cohesion and democratic values.