LONDON: More than half of British people would support the racial profiling of Muslims and Arabs for security reasons, a survey has revealed. The “UK attitudes toward the Arab world” poll showed stark differences between the views held by Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters, and those on opposing sides of the Brexit debate.
Almost 80 per cent of Leave voters, for example, believed the Arabs who migrated to the UK “have failed to integrate in Western societies and live in isolated communities”, but only 45 per cent of Remain voters felt the same, bringing the average down to 63 per cent.
Around two thirds of pro-EU respondents said Britain should welcome more refugees from Syria and Iraq, but 91 per cent of Brexiteers thought the UK should take in fewer people fleeing the conflicts.
Overall, only 28 per cent thought migrants and refugees from the Arab world were beneficial to Britain. When respondents were asked if they would support racial profiling against Arabs or Muslims for security reasons, 55 per cent agreed and 24 per cent disagreed overall.
But when split by how respondents voted in this year’s general election, 72 per cent of Conservative voters supported the suggestion, followed by 40 per cent Labour and 40 Liberal Democrat. But almost three quarters believed that Islamophobia was worsening in the UK and that statements by politicians, commentators and public figures were increasing the risk of hate crime.
More than 2,100 people were surveyed by YouGov in the weighted poll for Arab News in conjunction with the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu).
Chris Doyle, the director of Caabu, said racial profiling would not be the “right cure” for the continued terror threat against the UK following four Isis-linked terror attacks this year.
Most people said they would not travel to the region and a large proportion of respondents also wrongly identified countries including Iran, Afghanistan, Israel and Turkey among those being considered for the survey’s purposes.