ISLAM is not compatible with British values, according to more than half of Britons surveyed for a Muslim community.
By Katie Mansfield, EXPRESS
One in three said the religion promotes violence in the UK with 72 per cent saying most people in the UK have a negative view of Islam.
Professional survey company ComRes questioned 2,012 people, chosen to be representative of the British adult population, on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to find out more about British attitudes towards Islam.
Just 32 per cent thought Islam promotes peace in the UK.
Overall 56 per cent disagreed with the question is Islam compatible with British values.
The survey results were revealed during ‘Caliphate in the 21st Century’ conference, held to discuss the true nature of caliphate and its role in the 21st century.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who commissioned the survey is a Muslim organisation dedicated to peace who have a caliphate in the UK. Their belief in the caliphate is it is a spiritual and peaceful group which is at odds with Islamic State’s version of a controlled political organisation.
It is this disparity between the two that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wanted to survey to be able to understand where these misconceptions about the caliphate are.
The Ahmadiyya Caliphate is a non-political organisation established in 1908 following the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be a prophet, and has 100 branches across Britain.
Farooq Aftab, national spokesman of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, said: “The task of the Ahmadiyya Caliphate is to continue pursuing the peaceful objectives laid down by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, which is essentially to worship God and serve humanity.
“And so, under the guidance of the Institution of Caliphate, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has continued this work for more than one hundred years.”
Of the 2,012 people surveyed, 44 of the people are Muslim.
Of the 44 Muslims, 25 per cent of them strongly disagreed with the statement that Islam is compatible with British values and 17 per cent of them agreed with the statement that Islam promotes acts of violence in the UK.
So what is the Ahmadiyya community doing to engage with the Muslims who agreed with the statement that Islam promotes acts of violence in the UK?
Mr Aftab said: “As far as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is concerned we are engaging with our members on a daily basis through a range of initiatives such as education, recreational and sports to break down barriers and give members the true teachings of Islam.
“We have on a number of occasions said that in Mosques, Imams and leaders should use sermons to condemn ISIS. And make it clear that going to join them is totally wrong and against Islam.
“Earlier this year, our spiritual leader, our Caliph, gave a speech to 5,000 Ahmadi youth and he said that those who are going to Syria and Iraq are being brainwashed. And he said clear that it is a totally ‘false Jihad’ – and so this is the message that needs to be conveyed – that this Jihad has no legitimacy.
“Muslim parents also have to play a role. They should answer the questions of their children openly (both about society and religion) – so no need to go on internet to find answers from extremists.
“Mosques should also encourage other activities such as sports so that Muslim youths can find bonding there – and not have to go to internet to find it or in worst case scenario join terrorist groups. This is something Ahmadiyya Community does.”
Of the 2,012 people questioned, 41 per cent said they have Muslim family, friends or acquaintances, 54 per cent said they did not and five per cent said they did not know.
42 per cent of the 2,012 people questioned said they had never heard of a caliphate and 16 per cent had heard of the concept but did not know what it meant.
Of the 990 people who had heard of the concept of the caliphate just one per cent said they understood it as an ISIS idea, concept or plan.
78 per cent agree extremist views and actions conducted in the name of Islam by a minority of Muslims unfairly impact perceptions of all Muslims.
The survey also found older Britons were more likely to see Islam as being a negative force, while younger people had a more positive view.
Tom Mludzinski, director of political polling from ComRes added: “This research illustrates relatively low awareness and understanding of a caliphate among British adults, as well as conflicting perceptions of Islam.
“For example, with Britons similarly as likely to agree that Islam promotes acts of violence in the UK as they are to agree that Islam promotes peace in the UK it is clear that perceptions of Islam are mixed among the general public.”
Conference organiser Ibrahim Ikhlaf, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said: “This survey reveals in extraordinary detail the distorted view of Islam and Muslims and in the concept of a Caliphate – despite the fact that the worldwide Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and his predecessor have been in Britain for decades.
“The focus in the media on extremism, and linking any type of violence or crime by Muslims to Islam has skewed public perception so that they believe Islam condones or encourages violence and extremism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“That is why this survey is so timely and this conference provides a platform for us to address issues raised by the results. For followers of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Caliphate, the caliphate is a force for good and this is the message that we will seek to put forward.”