British Muslims: the new Victorians

Thabet points me to a new survey of Muslims and the European public. The focus is especially on the UK, France and Germany. In short Muslims in these three nations are more "conservative" than the general population when it comes to social values, but, it is interesting to note that there seems to be an effect of the host culture on the Muslims (i.e., French Muslims track the French, and so forth). But I want to highlight the extreme social conservatism of British Muslims. For example, apparently no British Muslims in the survey thought that homosexual acts were morally acceptable. The whole report is worth reading, but below the fold I put the attitudes toward social mores of the three Muslim populations and the general populations in France, Germany and England. The rows alternate between French, German and British surveys, in that order. So the first three rows show the % who think that homosexual acts are wrong for the French, German and British public & Muslims, in that order. All subsequent rows are in that order as well.

General Muslim
% Who say homosexual acts “morally acceptable” 78 35

68 19

58 0
% Who say abortion is “morally acceptable” 78 35

47 19

55 5
% Who say viewing pornography is “morally acceptable” 43 16

58 18

35 1
% Who say sex between an unmarried man and women are “morally acceptable” 90 48

88 27

82 2
% Who say that an affair between married men and women is “morally acceptable” 46 14

24 6

15 2
% Who say that suicide is “morally acceptable” 43 14

29 4

32 2
% Who say that the death penalty is “morally acceptable” 35 24

27 27

50 63

And here's a scatter plot:


More like this

French Muslims are largely North African in origin, German Muslims Turkish, and British Muslims Bangladeshi and Pakistani. These are all very different populations with widely different historical cultural and genetic backgrounds. It is not too surprising therefore that there are marked differences in their values. Christian communities from say Nigeria Sweden and South Korea would probably display similar levels of variation in their values.

By John Harvey (not verified) on 07 May 2009 #permalink

a quick spotcheck of the world values survey suggests that the rank order of liberalism to conservatism for turks, algerians and pakistanis are:

turks > algerians > pakistanis.

so it seems that there is either selection bias of algerians who emigrate to france, or the liberalism of french culture is making them more liberal than they should be (same issue applies to turks, who are likely selection biased too).

interesting report although it is expected in my view.The observed result ( ignoring the possibility of sample bias) can be explained by multiple combination of factors including the two previously written factors ( the variation in the country of origin of these Muslims ) and the level of conservativeness if I may use this word in these countries of origin.
But certinly there are other factors including the religous teachings in the country of origion of these pupulations which is "inherited by practice and children teaching after migration to Europe, in addition ,of course . to the "genetics" and "envirmomental" factor which has a complex interaction between the various Muslim's generations in one hand and the impact of the European practice and believes in the other hand.

for easy reference to the report:

I remember reading that the French government setup a "seminary" to train moderate Imans, not sure about the Germans, but know that the English government are tolerant of radical Imans from abroad coming to the country to preach at their Mosques.

So this has got to be a factor too!

How recent are the respective muslim populations? France has long-standing ties to North Africa, but Germany's importation of Turks is more recent and limited, right? The UK also has long-standing ties to South Asia, but my understanding was there has been an immigration boom in recent years.

IOW, are there more 2nd and 3rd generation (or greater) French muslims compared to Germany and the UK? Immigrant populations typically increase their assimilation with each generation. I know France received many North Africans post WWII, but Germany's Turkish immigrants didn't arrive in large #s until the 60s and 70s. So France has at least a generation head start.

jim, i have the same impression as you. re: british, the pakistanis are mostly native born, the bangladeshis are mostly foreign born. in any case, i'll put together a more thorough post bringing together data. if readers could help me out i'd appreciate it. i know that the UK has a good stats site for this sort of thing via census, but france and germany i don't know....

France has an official policy of not collecting ethnic or religious data I believe, so you won't get much data there.

The OECD country of birth database can help with the number of first generation immigrants from various countries.

I find it interesting that the Brits seem to be the most socially conservative group, yet isn't their society the one with the most social ills? I read this article in the NYT about British tourists in the Greek Islands and Spain, in how they completely debase themselves. According to one of the Greek hotel owners, the French and German tourists are nothing like the Brits in outrageousness.

Victorians, huh? You mean new conservatives. Anyway, it's not good enough - the muslim numbers should all be 0% for the above and 100% for the death penalty question.

By Shadow Caster (not verified) on 07 May 2009 #permalink

Mind you, the Victorians didn't go in for slaughtering their daughters and sisters for "honour crimes".

By bioIgnoramus (not verified) on 08 May 2009 #permalink

"the Victorians didn't go in for slaughtering their daughters and sisters for "honour crimes"

No, they just cut their fallen women off from family, and left them to die on the street, or friendless, alone.

I find french morality whacked. Affairs are ok with 46% but watching porn ( even for a single guy) ok with only 43%. You can cheat with a woman, but not watch it afterwards. I just dont get that.

Hey biolgnoramus, you should know that Islam absolutely forbids "honor killings". Honor killings are a cultural phenomena more prevalent in the "third world" and are not done just by Muslims.

By Shadow Caster (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

norwegian men sometime do a modern kind of honour killing too, when they shoot women who have cheated/trehtened to leave them, their kids and then themselves..

not exactly the same, I know

The only spot where french muslim are less conservative is for death penalty.
I guess they realize it would not be to their advantage to have it.