Muslim Moral Superiority?
Islamophobia or Britannophobia?
Broadly, with only a few exceptions, ours is a law-abiding society in which we tolerate difference and get on with our lives while trying to behave well towards each other. So why, in that case, are Muslims so negative towards us? We hear a lot about Islamophobia, but to judge from a survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, British Muslims are far harsher on the rest of us than we are on them — and they are far more critical of us than are Muslims living in Germany, France or Spain.
Pew gave both Muslims and non-Muslims a list of positive and negative characteristics and asked which applied to each other. Between half and two thirds of British Muslims claimed that Westerners were selfish, arrogant, violent, greedy and immoral. Even Pakistanis living in Pakistan were less likely to say this than British Muslims, and German, French and Spanish Muslims had a markedly less jaundiced view of Westerners.
Meanwhile, British non-Muslims were among the least likely of all Westerners in the countries surveyed to attribute those negative characteristics to Muslims. We were also among the most likely to say that Muslims were devout, honest, generous and tolerant.
It is both remarkable and heartwarming that non-Muslim Britons are prepared to be so open and appreciative to a community that has such a censorious view of us. For if anyone deserves to have a grievance, it is surely non-Muslims whose generosity is not being reciprocated. Forget Islamophobia for a moment: why does no one ever complain about Britannophobia?