A survey published today shows that UK Muslims have significantly less tolerance for homosexuality than their French and German counterparts.
The poll, part of the the Gallup Coexist Index 2009, found that not one of the 1,001 British Muslims interviewed believed homosexual acts were morally acceptable.
Fifty-eight per cent of the general British public said they thought homosexuality was not morally wrong, compared with 68 per cent of Germans.
French respondents were the most liberal, with 78 per cent of the general public saying it was not morally wrong. According to the survey, the opinions of Christians differed little from the views of the general public.
In comparison to British Muslims, 35 per cent of French Muslims and 19 per cent of German Muslims did not have moral objections to homosexual acts.
The survey also showed that British Muslims hold more conservative opinions towards abortion, viewing pornography, suicide and sex outside marriage than European Muslims, with markedly lower rates of thinking such issues are morally acceptable.
A striking difference between the opinions of French and British Muslims was seen when respondents were asked their opinions on sex between unmarried men and women.
While 48 per cent of French Muslims said it was morally acceptable, only three per cent of British Muslims agreed.
However, it was found that 77 per cent of British Muslims identify themselves as British, compared with just 50 per cent of the general population.
The paper’s authors concluded: “Some researchers point out that the greatest differences between Muslims and westerners lie more in eros than demos. In other words, the Muslim-west gap rests on differences in attitudes toward sexual liberalisation and gender issues rather than democracy and governance.
“This theory implies that the west speaks with one voice on issues of morals, tolerance, and sexual freedom. Furthermore, this line of argument contends that this unified system of western values represents the logical progression in all civilized, modern societies and Muslims are expected to embrace such liberal views, if they are to live in the west.”
The poll surveyed 1,001 British Muslims via telephone Random Digital Dial in July 2008. In each household, the person with the most recent birthday was asked to answer questions. Data was then weighted based of age, gender, family size and education to reflect the general population.