French Cozy With Muslims, UK Leery: Poll

France is the most Western country at ease with its Muslim population while Britons are the most suspicious compared to Europeans and Americans, according to a new poll.

French Cozy With Muslims, UK Leery: Poll

France is the most Western country at ease with its Muslim population while Britons are the most suspicious compared to Europeans and Americans, according to a new poll by The Financial Times published on Monday, August 20.

"In France we are very good at cultural integration," said Patrick Weil, political scientist at the University of Paris 1- Sorbonne.

The Harris Interactive survey, which involved 6,398 people in the six Western countries, found that most French would accept if their child wanted to marry a Muslim and were most likely to say they had Muslim friends.

It also found that most French believe that French Muslims had been the victims of unjustified criticism and prejudice.

"We are very bad in fighting discrimination, especially in high-level jobs," said Weil.

French Justice Minister Rachida Dati is facing a smear campaign by right-wing media and "jealous" politicians, who cannot swallow a Muslim woman of poor ethnic background holding such a prestigious post, Britain's Times reported on Tuesday, July 17.

In October of last year, thousands of youths of immigrant origin protested violently in the Persian suburbs at discrimination at workplace and educational institutions.

The construction of purpose-built mosques in France has become a mission impossible as rightists stand as the main roadblock and derail strenuous efforts made by Muslims to have a proper place of worship just like other communities in the secular country.

Paris triggered an international controversy in 2004 after banning hijab, which Islam sees as an obligatory code of dress, in public schools and institutions.

France is home to around six million Muslims, the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

Suspicious Britons

The poll found that Britons view Muslims with more suspicions than other Europeans or Americans.

It indicated that Britons were most likely to consider Muslims "a threat to national security".

British Muslims, estimated at nearly 2 million, have been at the eye of the storm since the 7/7 London terrorist bombings, carried out by four Muslim bombers.

The recent failed London and Glasgow plots, vehemently condemned by British Muslims, only added insult to injury.

The poll found that 59 percent of British respondents thought it possible to be both a Muslim and a Briton, a smaller proportion than in France, Germany, Spain, Italy or the US.

It indicated that 52 percent of Britons expect a major terrorist attack in Britain within the next 12 months.

Osama Saeed of the Muslim Association of Britain blamed the poll's findings on the media campaigns which fuel Islamophobia.

A British study blamed in January the Western media and film industry for perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by demonizing Muslims and Arabs as violent, dangerous and threatening people.

The new poll found that suspicions about Muslims fell sharply in the US and other European countries.

In America, 21 percent of respondents saw Muslims as a threat, though some 40 percent said they would oppose their children marrying Muslims.

In Spain, fewer than a quarter saw Muslims as a threat, while just a fifth said they would oppose Muslims marrying their children.

The poll found that nearly 46 percent of British respondents believe Muslims had too much political power.

By contrast, about a third of Italians and Germans, less than a quarter of Spaniards, and a fifth of Americans believe Muslims had too much political power.

A June study sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Washington's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars concluded that US Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, lacked strong institutions and recognizable public or political voices.

IOL, Newspapers

Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 14:33
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