• Muslim men at the London Muslim Centre in London, England. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
A British documentary claims 52 per cent of British Muslims it surveyed said they disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in the UK.
Drew Sheldrick

13 Apr 2016 - 9:37 AM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2016 - 9:37 AM

A survey commissioned by the UK's Channel 4 has found approximately half of British Muslims polled thought homosexuality should be illegal.

Conducted by ICM Research, the polling will be presented as part of Channel 4's documentary program, 'What British Muslims Really Think', airing Wednesday night.

When asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 52 per cent said they disagree. When asked if gay marriage should be legal in Britain, 56 per cent said they disagree.

The results are based on 1,081 face-to face interviews with British Muslims, conducted in 2015. A further 1,008 phone interviews were conducted for a control group, representative of the rest of the UK.

"Channel 4 commissioned the survey to get the views from British Muslims themselves rather than those who claim to speak on their behalf; and, in particular to try to understand why some young Muslims are being drawn to violence," says a Channel 4 statement about the program.

"At the top-line level, the survey suggests that a mainstream British Muslim majority have similar values and attitudes to the wider British public on issues such as support for British institutions and a feeling of belonging to Britain.

"But looking deeper into the results, a chasm develops between those Muslims surveyed and the wider population on attitudes to liberal values on issues such as gender equality, homosexuality and issues relating to freedom of expression."

The documentary will be hosted by the former chair of Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, who wrote an editorial for the Daily Mail UK calling the findings "grim".

"Liberal-minded Muslims have been saying for some time that our live-and-let-live attitudes have allowed a climate to grow in which extremist ideas have flourished within Britain’s Muslim communities," Phillips said.

"In my view, we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism."

Criticism of both the survey and Phillips' comments led to the co-opting of the #WhatBritishMuslimsReallyThink hashtag on Twitter this week. Former co-chair of the Conservative Party, Sayeeda Warsi, was one of the many British Muslims who chose to mock the program.

Last month, Britain's The Sun newspaper was found to have breached the country's Editors’ Code by publishing a front page story about another poll, headlined “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”. The Independent Press Standards Organisation found the headline was “significantly misleading” and ordered the paper to publish a critical adjudication.

In 2013, the British Social Attitudes Survey found 40 per cent of British Anglicans and 35 per cent of British Catholics thought homosexuality was "always or mostly wrong".

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