It found that more than one-third of card-carrying Tories believed that Islamist terror attacks reflected a widespread hostility to Britain among the Muslim community, and nearly six in 10 thought “there are no-go areas in Britain where sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter.”
Conservative members were far more likely to have negative attitudes towards Muslims than members of the public in general, 30% of whom said they thought Islam was a threat, according to the poll, which was commissioned by the antiracism organisation Hope Not Hate.
The poll found that there continues to be widespread suspicion, prejudice and hostility towards Muslims amongst Conservative Party members. Amongst the poll’s The polling alarming, and depressing, findings:
- 57% of party members had a negative attitude towards Muslims, with 21% registering a very negative attitude. This is more than twice the number of those with negative attitudes towards Hindus and Jewish people, and the fifth of respondents with very negative attitudes compares with just 3% who felt the same about Jews, Hindus and Sikhs.
- Half of Conservative Party members (47%) believe that Islam is “a threat to the British way of life”, while 58% believed that “there are no go areas in Britain where Sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter”. This figure rose to 66% of those who backed Boris Johnson in the 2019 leadership election.
- Over a third of Tory members thought that Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain amongst the Muslim community, compared to 53% who thought it was wrong to blame all Muslims for the actions of a violent minority. Opinion was evenly divided amongst Johnson supporters, with 44% believing the former statement and 46% the latter.
Commenting on the findings, the former Conservative party chair Sayeeda Warsi said: “This latest poll is further evidence that the party has a real and serious issue with racism directed at Muslims.”
“It’s been consistently raised with the party since 2015. The refusal of the party to take the matter seriously has meant that these abhorrent views have been allowed to fester and grow – the culture of impunity must stop.”
The poll comes four months after the Equality and Human Rights Commission dropped plans for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party, despite having received a dossier from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) detailing more than 300 separate allegations of Islamophobic comments and actions by Tory activists, councillors and political advisers. Instead, the party said it would conduct its own review to look into how complaints are handled.
A spokesperson for the MCB said: “For years, we have been alarmed at how entrenched deeply Islamophobic views are in the Conservative party, and this polling, coupled with the MCB’s dossier of over 300 members engaging in Islamophobia is further evidence of how institutional, systemic and embedded in the culture of the Conservative party this is.”
The Conservative party has been approached for comment.