On Friday 23 July 2010 I attended the launch of a report on the Perception on Islam & Muslims produced by the Islamic Eduation & Research Acadamy (IERA). The organisation sought to undertake a statistical analysis of perceptions on Islam and Muslims in the UK by sampling the opinions of 500 non-Muslims from different parts of the UK.
The report contained a number of important statistics that I will be reflecting on as we continue in our work:
75% believed Islam and Muslims had provided a negative contribution to society.
63% did not disagree to the statement that 'Muslims are terrorists'
70% did not disagree with the statement 'Muslims preach hatred'
71% did not agree with the statement 'Muslims are peaceful'
Although the above statistics are only a sample of the opinions of the public, the research methodology used by IERA would suggest that their statistics would be a fair reflection of general public opinion in the UK.
I'm not going to provide any detailed analysis of these statistics at the moment, especially in relation to our work. However, I do feel that Muslims in the UK need to think heavily about these numbers and how we can work to change that.