November 21st, 2011
07:59 AM ET

British Muslims optimistic and proud, survey finds

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

British Muslims are more proud to be British than the population as a whole, and they are significantly more optimistic about the country's future, a new study released Monday reveals.

Religious people in general are more proud to be British than those who call themselves atheists or non-believers, the survey by the think tanks Demos said.

Nearly nine out of 10 Anglicans and Jews, and more than eight out of 10 Muslims said they were "proud to be a British citizen."

Just under eight out of 10 people agreed with the statement nationwide.

"Overall British Muslims are more likely to be both patriotic and optimistic about Britain than are the white British community," says the report, "A Place for Pride."

The head of the Muslim Council of Britain welcomed the findings.

"The message is that we are not Muslim OR British but are British AND Muslim," Farooq Murad told CNN Monday.

"British Muslims have been playing their part in Britain for many generations now, despite being all-too-often condemned to the sidelines by attention-grabbing headlines," he said.

Most of his co-religionists "simply want to get on with their lives, to work and raise families just as everyone else, and to contribute to the continued prosperity of this great island of ours," he said.

The study suggests that, far from there being a conflict between ethnic identity and national pride, the two may reinforce each other.

"People who are proud of their ethnic group - be that white British or black and minority ethnic - are far more likely to say they are proud to be a British citizen," said authors Max Wind-Cowie and Thomas Gregory.

One British Muslim told Demos that being a member of a minority had made him think more about being Muslim.

"I was always having to explain what a Muslim is and what we believe and why I wasn't eating," said the respondent, who is not named in the report. "It was annoying sometimes but it made me confident talking about who I am. And it meant I could express that without having to go over the top or wear something special to prove it."

Demos was looking "to find out what made people proud of modern Britain and why politicians fail to articulate a convincing vision of this," said Beatrice Karol Burks of the think tank.

One survey respondent captured the particular diffidence of British pride in their country.

"It's almost like if you tried to make Britain more patriotic... you'd be being sort of unpatriotic because it would be so un-British," said the unnamed respondent.

More than 50% of British people say they are "very proud" to be citizens of their country, a different survey found in 2008 - higher than Germany, France or Italy, but lower than Norway.

Shakespeare was the icon that British people were proudest of in the Demos survey, slightly ahead of the armed forces and Union Jack flag.

The study was funded by the Pears Foundation, a Jewish family foundation "concerned with positive identity and citizenship."

Demos commissioned pollster YouGov to survey 2,086 British citizens online between May 4 and 9.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • United Kingdom

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. jo

    Are christians who loose their jobs cause they wear a cros on their neck proud to be British too?????????

    January 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
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    March 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Emine

      hadiths are quotes of the prheopt of islam I say: To be precise, they are quotes and stories, not just quotes.You said: "In Saudi Arabia, women are slaves"no sorry they are not slaves they choose what they want to do or be.I say: That is not true. The truth is, in Saudi Arabia the law is structured such that women can not drive, are compelled to marry the man their parents choose for them, can not decided for themselves whether or not to be educated, can not decide for themselves whether to go outdoors or when to go out doors, or with whom to associate when they are out of doors.That is a life in which women are not allowed to make their own decisions. That is, essentially, slavery. Don't lie.You said: in sudia arabia there are entire malls made for women ...I say: Thanks for admitting it. They do not have the freedom to choose with whom they will associate. They are not allowed to associate with men. Men make up the power structure, and women are not allowed to associate with anyone in the power structure. Therefore, women can not gain power. You have proven my point.You said: they also have whole universities only for women to study ...I say: Yes, IF their man will allow them to go to school.You said: even more many saudi women have drivers to take then anywhere they want I say: Once again, thanks for admitting it, and you have proven my point. Wealthy Saudi women, whose husbands allow them afford them some sutonomy, have drivers "to take them anywhere they want..." Poor Saudi women do not have any such thing. Additionally, once again, this is totally under the control of the man who is the owner of the woman, whether it be her husband, father, or brother.Once again, stop lying.You said: i am a muslim and i live very close to saudia arabia in bahrain and i always went to saudia arabia for shopping and never seen what you are about because it is mainly based on ignorance (forgive me;))I say; Well, you seem like a nice guy, but I think you are lying to yourself. But, then again, if you came to America, you'd probably, a la Sayid Qutb, think we live an absolutely decadent life, and you would probably be disgusted, and in some ways, you'd be right to be disgusted by our decadence.But, here's the thing people like you have a hard time understanding:Freedom of Choice means having the ability to choose whether or not to be a good person. Decadence is the exhaust of a free society. You can not enforce true goodness. Goodness which is enforced (coerced) is not true goodnes. It is, instead, the goodness of an automaton, like a robot.Freedom of Choice is a requirement for the manifestation of true Goodness.You ought to try it sometime.

      October 8, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  6. Muneef

    Who said there is perfectness in any of us whether Muslims or Non Muslims...we all have our faults and smells... Our prisons are full of Muslims did bad things as does your prisons are full of Muslims and non Muslims for doing bad things...!? We Muslims do not claim tobe Angels after all we Muslims and non Muslims all are only Humans...we do have our faults and mistakes,but the best of us are those who realize and repent thereafter seeking forward to reach the unreachable perfectness of Angels...! Exuse my poor English but do hope you understand the explanation am trying to bring forward to you...

    November 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  7. Carnie Wilson

    *POOT* <-Smell that one mooslum.

    November 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Vibul

      Masha\'Allah. I\'m glad the issues have been ptneoid out and that there is open debate. But some of the feuds have gotten out of hand. Some people live for controversy, others are striving for leadership positions. Others step in as intermediaries on a need be basis. I would like to think I was one of those. But making those constant interventions and correctives can be overwhelming. I\'m not saying I\'m a totally reasonable voice, but I just tried to be honest about the struggle. Personally, I feel like they have taken me away from the real work I should be doing. But I am grateful for the lessons I\'ve learned. I hope you share the curriculum with other communities. As for the blogosphere, we still need a voice of reason. We still need to hear little words of wisdom, some gems every now and then. So whenever you are inspired, drop a line here and there.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  8. proud

    That is beacuse the live in briton and not some backwater 3rd world country in africa. asia or the middle east, which by the way was better off under british rule

    November 23, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  9. Leaf on the Wind

    This is what islam is all about:


    I had to change the URL... change the @ to a

    November 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  10. hippypoet

    what do muslims have too be proud of anyway? they are uselss

    November 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  11. Deist 1#

    "Overall British Muslims are more likely to be both patriotic and optimistic about Britain than are the white British community," wow Islam really wants to take over the world. What an evil Conquering Religions

    November 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  12. Iqbal Khan


    November 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  13. Muneef

    Embracing Islam by a Female Judge in UK (less than 2 minutes):


    November 22, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • Mirosal

      This judge can enjoy her status in the UK, as is her right. So tell me, just how many female judges are there in the Arab world? C'mon .. how many?

      November 22, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Reality

      Islam gives women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Aya-an Hi-rsi Ali in her autobiography, In-fidel.

      "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."
      ref: Washington Post book review.

      some excerpts:

      "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

      "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race."

      "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating."

      "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

      Islam and it laws give women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Ayaan

      November 22, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Answer

      The rights of women in the third world do not exist. Only in a better free society based on reason and respect in equality do women have the chances to make our world less hateful. Islam fundamentalists looking for references (and examples) in our developed countries, as opposed to their own societies, to prove that their societies are better and are peaceful, are lying to themselves and everyone about it.

      Islam is reaching for the coveted fruits built upon the struggles of change in our developed societies. They are so a-s-s backwards that they need OUR EXAMPLES of women's strength protected in our societies to show that a muslim can make a difference. Grow up you morons in Islam ! Your society will not bring peace! Your society will not free your own women! Your society is and always be male dominant! When that really changes you won't be able to spread your lies.

      Once and only once when your own women in your own society rises up and deny you morons s-e-x will you be really afraid that you do not have power. Keeping up your regular doctrines of fear is all your society can do to maintain your society. Your structure will fail in the times of change ahead.

      November 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Iqbal Khan

      Assalam -u-elakum brother,
      Welcome back, may God give U health.

      November 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Muneef, you post the most illogical, ignorant nonsense here. You ignore facts and keep posting your islamic propaganda and I'm sick and tired of it. You don't even know what your own religion is about. It's violence. STOP POSTING YOUR DRIVEL.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Leaf On The Wind.

      Man really I feel sorry for you and hope you reach a safe reliable place where you can find your self,rather than being pushed where ever the wind change place and takes you..Amen.

      My belief and faith is in GOD Allah for what he is being the most forgiving and merciful...am not in to the violence that is created by men for their misinterpretation or in recreating of the passages of the Holy Books into what suits them and their vast intentions...!! Otherwise look upon it as that all religious and non religious vast intentions where violent throughout history... Or would you deny that??

      Wish you Happy thanks giving (Although Late but better than never)...!

      November 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Highkon

      If you could find out about Pakistani movie villains, Katha, that would be an imtnpraot topic to discuss! We only enemize what we fear; so those we choose to set against us in our cultural entertainment plays directly into our subconscious terms of terror.

      October 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  14. Name

    Of course they would be. All the laws made in 2011 are made only in their favour and only with their consideration in mind, otherwise it's racist.

    They know what's going. As does the media that writes this garbage promoting Islam. I'd ask which government agency is funding this propaganda, but they've pretty much eroded into the same organisation anyway.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:11 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.