10 Years After London Bombings, More Than Half of Britons Think Muslims Are a Threat

More Britons now consider Islam a threat than in aftermath of terrorist attack that killed dozens, wounded hundreds in bombings around London.

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Muslims attend Friday prayers during the second day of Ramadan, in the courtyard of a housing estate in east London, Britain June 19, 2015.
Muslims attend Friday prayers during the second day of Ramadan, in the courtyard of a housing estate in east London, Britain June 19, 2015.Credit: Reuters

More than half of Britons believe Muslims pose a threat to the United Kingdom, and more than three quarters believe a major terror attack on Britain is likely, a poll for the Huffington Post UK published on Friday found.

The poll, conducted a decade after a coordinated series of bombings killed 52 people and injured nearly 800 others around London, found that negative attitudes against Muslims in the U.K. are now far more prevalent than immediately following the July 7, 2005 bombings.

Asked to consider Islam as a whole and to preclude "fundamentalist Islamist groups" when considering their answer, 56 percent of the respondents in the YouGov poll said they consider the religion as posing either a "major" or "some" threat to Western liberal democracy, 10 percent more than in a poll taken the day after 7/7, as the bombings came to be known.

Though a majority of Britons still agree that most British Muslims were "peaceful, law-abiding citizens who deplore terror attacks in the name of Islam," their proportion has shrunk: Only 20 percent said the phrase is true of "practically all" Muslims, and 60 percent said it is true to most Muslims, decreasing from 23 percent and 64 percent respectively, compared to the post-7/7 poll.

The poll also found that more Britons now believe that a large proportion of British Muslims "feel no sense of loyalty to this country" – 15 percent, compared to 10 a decade ago.

Responding to the poll, an official with the Muslim Council of Britain told HuffPost that he was not surprised by its results, as hostility to Muslims has become "a lot more mainstream."

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said this hostility was due to a "very small minority," referring to extremist Islamist groups, and pointed out that a poll conducted for the BBC after the Charlie Hebdo attack found that 95 percent of British Muslims polled felt loyal to the U.K.

Another YouGov poll published in early June found that Muslims are the second most disliked group in Britain after Roma people, with 40 percent of Britons having negative impression of Muslims. In comparison, only seven percent of the British harbor similar sentiments against Jews, the poll found.

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