Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

Trevor Phillips is finally discovering the pitfalls of the term ‘Islamophobia’

The former head of the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission has once again said the ‘unsayable’.  In a piece for the Sunday Times (ahead of a Channel 4 documentary to go out on Wednesday) Trevor Phillips unveils an in-depth new poll carried out by ICM (which can be viewed here).

The findings include the facts that:

  • 23 percent of British Muslims polled support the idea of there being areas of the UK where sharia law is introduced instead of British law.
  • 39 percent believe wives should always obey their husbands.
  • 31 percent believe it is acceptable for British Muslims to keep more than one wife.
  • 52 percent think homosexuality should be illegal in the UK.

The usual people are trying to find ways to quibble with the authority or depth of this poll.  Their effort only proves once again that however bad the facts, some people remain so sectarian that they will continue to blame everything except the problem for the problem (‘How dare that bigoted polling company discover our dirty laundry?’)

But in some ways the Phillips piece is most important for what he himself admits.  Among other things Phillips confesses that Britain has for years been telling itself a lie in relation to its Muslim populations – not least in pretending that they will blend in just like everyone else.  Phillips writes:

‘Britain desperately wants to think of its Muslims as versions of the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, or the cheeky-chappie athlete Mo Farah. But thanks to the most detailed and comprehensive survey of British Muslim opinion yet conducted, we now know that just isn’t how it is.’

He even recognises that the authority for these views may in fact come from Muslim scriptures and traditions.  After a discussion of British Muslim attitudes towards women he says:

‘We didn’t get to discuss whether the injunction at sura 4:34 of the Koran to chastise your wife falls under this rubric.

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