London, Jan 10(ANI): A major study conducted by Britain's National Centre for Social Research has found that only a quarter of the locals feel positive towards Muslims.
The findings, which will be published later this month in the respected British Social Attitudes Survey, show that the British public is concerned at the rise of Islam in the UK and fear that the country is deeply divided along religious lines.
The study also found that more than half of the population would be strongly opposed to a mosque being built in their neighbourhood.
David Voas, professor of population studies at Manchester University, who analyzed the data, said that people were becoming intolerant towards all religions due to "the degree to which Islam is perceived as a threat to social cohesion".
"Muslims deserve to be the focus of policy on social cohesion, because no other group elicits so much disquiet. The size and visibility of Islamic communities has led to serious concerns about their impact on British society," The Telegraph quoted Voas, as saying.
"This apparent threat to national identity reduces the willingness to accommodate free expression. Opinion is divided, and many people remain tolerant of unpopular speech as well as distinctive dress and religious behaviour, but a large segment of the British population is unhappy about these subcultures," he added.
The report further found that respondents with no qualifications were twice as likely to have negative attitudes towards Muslims as with those who had degrees, and also described a high level of unease regarding the UK's Muslim population, estimated at around two million, with many people considering that it poses a threat to the nation's identity. (ANI)