Exclusive: the majority of British Muslims believe that life in the UK is better than it was five years ago

A new poll by Hyphen and Savanta ComRes shows a broadly optimistic view of the future

Photograph: Solstock/Getty
Pakistani grandson and grandmother taking a selfie together in a garden in Middlesbourgh, North East of England. Photography courtesy of Solstock/Getty

More than half of all UK Muslims believe their lives are better today than they were five years ago, according to an exclusive poll commissioned by Hyphen.

The nationwide survey asked more than 1,500 UK Muslims about their socioeconomic standing and future aspirations. The results reveal broad optimism in a number of areas. Over half (53%) said that their lives are better than five years ago, while 68% noted an increased participation in society by Muslims over the same period. 

The majority of respondents also said there is an improved acceptance of Muslims in the UK (53%) and more opportunities for Muslims to be successful (55%). According to 58%, there are also more role models for young Muslims growing up in the UK. A similar number (57%) believe that young Muslims will be more successful than their parents.

UK Muslims also appear confident about how life in the country compares to other European nations. Three in five (59%) said that life as a Muslim is generally better in the UK than it is in other European nations, including France, Germany and Italy.

The survey includes the views of 700 people aged 18 to 24. When asked about their priorities for the next five years, the top answers included career progression (27%), saving money (26%) and buying a house (15%).

“Young Muslims, in particular those born in the UK, have grown up more comfortable with the interaction between their religious identity and Britishness,” said Emma Levin, senior consultant at Savanta ComRes. “With more and more representation in business, entertainment, politics and sport, this trend looks set to continue in the coming years.”

Although the survey’s findings are mainly positive, there are some challenges to address. While most UK Muslims are hopeful about their economic prospects, the cost of living crisis is a cause of concern. When questioned about the affordability of basic household expenses such as bills, food and fuel, 54% said they are worse off.

Hyphen’s poll also found that the majority of UK Muslims (69%) said they had encountered Islamophobia in a variety of work situations.

For Asif Aziz, founder of the Aziz Foundation education charity, the survey highlights the resilience and hard work of the UK’s Muslim community. 

“I set up the Aziz Foundation as I recognise British Muslim communities have huge potential, which can be hindered by Islamophobia and socioeconomic barriers,” he said.

“Our alumni are testament to this potential, having gone on to great achievements in media, journalism, technology, publishing and innovation. They have shown what British Muslims are capable of, given the right support and opportunity.”  

Savanta ComRes surveyed 1,503 UK Muslims between 22 April and 10 May, 2022. Data were weighted to be representative of UK Muslims by age, gender, region and ethnicity.

Katharine Swindells contributed to reporting.


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