The highly respected, independent think tank Demos, have produced a new report on patriotism. Some of its findings will challenge some widespread opinions. For a starter, they found British Muslims have a greater sense of national pride than the average UK citizen.
When asked to agree or disagree with the question ‘I’m proud to be a British citizen’, 83% of Muslims said they agreed. The figure for non-Muslims was 79%.
I hope somebody passes this on to the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
It was only last February, in a speech delivered in Munich, that the Prime Minister proclaimed that multiculturalism had ‘allowed the weakening our collective identity’ and ‘failed to provide a vision of society’ in which people feel they want to belong.
Cameron’s comments were depressing and wide of the mark. They show just how out of touch he is with much of urban Britain.
Even though his Munich speech had more nuance to it than the media headlines, it was the sound bites that shaped the story, adding further to a perception of a Muslim community whose religious and cultural identity was at odds with its British identity.
This report challenges a very widespread, and very damaging, view and peddled by some in the media who should simply know better.
One of the report’s other findings is that British Muslims have a greater appreciation of our political freedoms than other UK citizens.
I was not surprised by this. Many British Muslims have family in countries where lip service is paid democracy and the rule of law. We know only too well what military dictatorship can look like, and how corrosive corruption and bribery can be to the political process.
What Muslims really appreciate about Britain is its sense of fair play and live and let live attitude.
These values are woven into our multicultural society. Rather than unpick that fabric, as too many of our politicians attempt to do, we should all be doing more to stitch it all together.