Public 'three times more likely to hold prejudiced views of Islam', Birmingham University finds

People in Wolverhampton react to the Nusrat Ghani allegations

Islamophobia is the "posh person's prejudice", a new study from the University of Birmingham has suggested.

The survey, which interviewed 1,667 people, found that prejudiced views were more common among higher educated and wealthier people than among other groups.

The data also found the British public are three times as likely to hold prejudiced views of Islam than of other religions.

Among the findings, 25.9% of people harboured "negative" feelings towards Muslims, with 9.9% reporting "very negative" feelings.

Meanwhile, 36% of people surveyed agreed with the statement, "Islam threatens the British way of life".

The report comes after a Muslim Conservative MP, Nusrat Ghani claimed she had been sacked from her job as a transport minister in February 2020 after being told her faith was "making colleagues uncomfortable."

Nusrat Ghani claims she was fired due to her faith Credit: ITV PLC

Ghani, MP for Wealden in East Sussex, said she had tried to speak to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July 2020, but had been rebuffed.

Mr Johnson said he "could not get involved" in the claims.

An investigation has now been launched by the Cabinet Office.

"We've got a diverse nation," one man in Wolverhampton told ITV Central before adding: "This should be investigated."

"I think everyone should be respected - no matter where they come from," said another woman.

Dr Stephen H Jones, lead author of the survey said, "Prejudice towards Islam and Muslims stands out in the UK, not only because it is much more widespread than most forms of racism, but also because prejudice toward Islam is more common among those who are wealthier and well-educated."

The survey made several recommendations on how to deal with the issue, including suggesting public bodies recognise the "lack of public criticism that Islamophobic discourses and practices trigger, and how Islamophobia stands out compared with other forms of racism and prejudice."

It also suggested educators and media organisations place a greater emphasis on tolerance when discussing religion, especially Islam.