June 28, 2011

UK Muslims work hard at social integration


by Jan Harris

While it is Islamist extremism that usually makes the news, the chairman of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has redressed the balance a little with the news that Muslims are doing their best to integrate.

In an interview for the Sunday Telegraph prior to the publication of a report on religious discrimination in Britain, Trevor Phillips said: “Muslim communities in this country are doing their damnedest to try to come to terms with their neighbors to try to integrate.

“They’re doing their best to try to develop an idea of Islam that is compatible with living in a modern liberal democracy.”

According to the report, religious discrimination has increased over the last decade.

However, Phillips believes that while Muslims are more likely than Christians to suffer discrimination, Christians are more likely to complain about discrimination.

Phillips told the Sunday Telegraph that Christians who complain about issues around homosexuality may only do so in an effort to gain political power.

Phillips said: “I think the whole argument isn’t about the rights of Christians. It’s about politics. It’s about a group of people who really want to have weight and influence.

“There are a lot of Christian activist voices who appear bent on stressing the kind of persecution that I don’t think really exists in this country.”

A separate poll also points towards Muslims’ efforts to be accepted in British society.

According to research by think-tank Demos, around 80 per cent of Muslims are “proud to be a British citizen”.

The poll also found that 47 per cent of British Muslims support Britain’s position on gay rights, suggesting that the common perception of Muslims as unenlightened is misguided.

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