Nearly half of Britons think refugees should be turned away from the country, new research reveals.
A Yougov poll for the Islamic Relief group found that 42 per cent do not think Britain should welcome refugees from foreign conflicts, compared to 34 per cent who think it should. The figure represents a rise of 11 per cent since a similar survey was conducted last year.
When asked specifically about the conflict in Syria, the figure rises to 47 per cent who do not want refugees from the country. Just 29 per cent would accept them.
The figures reveal a considerable hardening of attitudes towards refugees from the British public, something Islamic Relief describes as “extremely worrying”.
The group has a controversial history, having been accused of being “partnered with a number of organizations linked to terrorism”. America’s Gatestone Institute also alleges trustees of the group are “personally affiliated with extreme Islamist groups that have connections to terror.”
The group strongly denies the allegations and claims its own internal audit has cleared it of any wrongdoing.
The poll also asked people which three words they most associate with the term Muslim. The top answer was “terrorist”, with 12 per cent, with “misogynist” and “extremist” also ranking highly.
Jehangir Malik, director of Islamic Relief UK, told The Independent: “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.”
The findings were released in the run-up to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which begins on the 18 June this year. Muslims are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset as well as donate to charity during the month.