British attitudes harden on refugees

A new survey suggests British attitudes to refugees are hardening
A new survey suggests British attitudes to refugees are hardening
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Nearly half of Britons do not believe refugees should be welcomed into the UK, research suggests.

Some 42 per cent said Britain should not take in foreign nationals fleeing conflict or persecution in their own countries, according to a poll of more than 6,000 people.

Meanwhile, 47 per cent said the UK should not provide refuge to people fleeing Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, the YouGov survey found.

The charity Islamic Relief, which commissioned the research, said the results showed a “dramatic hardening of views” towards refugees.

Just 31 per cent of people believed the UK should not welcome refugees in a similar survey of 5,000 people last year, it said.

The findings come after Britain helped rescue more than 1,000 people off the coast of Libya this month, where hundreds are feared to have drowned so far this year.

The survey also revealed that the British public associate Muslims with terrorism more than any other issue.

“Extremist” and “misogynistic” were also phrases most likely to be linked to the religion by Britons, according to the poll.

Jehangir Malik, Islamic Relief’s UK director, said: “The results of this poll are extremely worrying because they show that public attitudes towards Muslims are hugely negative and attitudes towards refugees have hardened significantly.

“It’s time we celebrated the role British Muslims play as part of the solution rather than demonising the Muslim community as part of the problem.”

British Muslims donate more than £100 million to charity during Ramadan alone, the charity said.