For at least twenty years, the British Jewish community has been out in front when it comes to interfaith work. As Britain’s Muslim population has grown, British Jews assumed that interfaith models that led to huge advances in relations with British Christians, could apply just as well to relations with British Muslims. Indeed building bridges with British Muslims has become the focus of outreach work by British Jews.
Today, our analysis of the ICM survey of British Muslims for Channel 4 and Juniper Television shows that the gradual buildup of understanding and friendship between Britain’s Jews and Muslims has been utterly eclipsed by growing antisemitism amongst British Muslims.
On every single count, British Muslims were more likely by far than the general British population to hold deeply antisemitic views. It is clear that many British Muslims reserve a special hatred for British Jews, rating Jews much less favourably than people of other religions or no religion, yet astonishingly British Muslims largely do not recognise antisemitism as a major problem.
It has long been suspected that sections of the British Muslim population harboured hatred towards British Jews. This survey goes some way to identifying pockets of prejudice, but it also shows that the prejudice is horrifyingly widespread.
From the ICM survey data made available by Channel 4 and Juniper Television, we have been able to identify some of the worst pockets of prejudice but the data is frustratingly limited in one some respects, and one in particular: it does not delve into the various political and religious movements that comprise the British Muslim population.
This data shows that Jews remain the ‘canary in the coal mine’, as they have been throughout history: those who harbour hatred of Jews also hate British society and sympathise with our most deadly enemies. Britain must confront antisemitism within its Muslim population, but also amongst the general population, whose shocking views should be no less concerning simply because the views of British Muslims are worse.