National identification among Muslims

National identification among Muslims

Update 2: Fixed typo.

Update: Forgot to post this..

"Most important national values of living in the country"

There's generally agreement among Muslims and non-Muslims on the various values, but they diverge on the following:

Respect for the law - Muslims 64.3%, non-Muslims 54.0%
Tolerance towards others - Muslims 37.4%, non-Muslims 49.9%
Freedom of speech and expression - Muslims 49.5%, non-Muslims 61.5%
Respect for all faiths - Muslims 51.6%, non-Muslims 29.1%

It's interesting that non-Muslims put an emphasis on tolerance, while Muslims put an emphasis on respect.


The Open Society Institute (OSI) recently published their study of Muslims in Europe, focusing on 11 cities. Thank you to all those who tipped me on it. I put off posting about it, since I intended to sit down and read it. I haven't gotten around to studying it, yet, but since I don't know when that will happen.. I've decided to go with skimming it for now and focusing on the big news stories.

The published study is actually an overview. OSI will be publishing more detailed studies of every city in the upcoming few years.

According to LibertyPhile, the study also suffers from various problems, such as a very small sample size.

The one question in the study that got a lot of attention was "Do you see yourself as [British, French etc.]?"

Muslims - 49.0% Yes, 51.0% No
Non-Muslims - 77.1% Yes, 22.9% No

But this one is just as important: "Do most other people in this country see you as [British, French, etc.]?"

Muslims - 24.5% Yes, 75.5% No
Non-Muslims - 74.8% Yes, 25.2% No

Half of the European Muslims who were interviewed see themselves as nationals, but just a quarter think others see them this way. This breaks down to just over two-thirds of European-born Muslims and just under 40% of foreign-born Muslims.

The breakdown by city/country is quite interesting:

UK: Leicester - 82%, London - 72% (40% feel they're seen as nationals)

Netherlands: Amsterdam - 59%, Rotterdam - 43%

France: Marseille - 58%, Paris - 41% [elsewhere the report says 58% for Paris, I don't know which one is the typo]

Belgium: Antwerp - 55%

Sweden: Stockholm - 41%

Denmark: Copenhagen - 40%

Germany: Berlin - 25%, Hamburg - 22% (11% feel they're seen as nationals)

A majority of European-born Muslims in every city expressed national identification, except for Berlin (35%) and Hamburg (46%). Since this is only an overview, there's no breakdown for the "do others see you as a national" question. The overview doesn't show us the answers to the question "Do you want to be seen by others as [British, French, etc.]?" either.

There's a significant difference between Amsterdam and Rotterdam (16 point gap), and between Marseille and Paris (17 points). It's hard to draw conclusions on what this means.

It would have been interesting if OSI would have asked the non-Muslims whether they think Muslims are nationals. For example, British Muslims feel by far most British, which of course made the headlines. On the other hand, a recent poll also shows that 52% of the British feel their country is deeply divided along religious lines. As it, we're left with just the Muslim side of things, and even there there's a significant gap between how people see themselves and how they feel they're seen by others.

It is also interesting to note that 'British' is not really an ethnic term, and most Brits would describe themselves as English and not as British. 55% of Antwerp Muslims said they felt 'national', but we don't know whether the question asked about nationality (Belgian) or ethnicity (Flemish).

With Amsterdam being an exception, only a minority of Muslims said they felt 'national' in the countries where ethnicity and nationality are intertwined (Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany). And unsurprisingly, except for France and the UK, more Muslims said they felt a sense of belonging to their country than national identification. As one German Muslim explained: "Being German means ethnicity, that's why I can't be German, but I can be a German citizen."

"What is the main barrier to being [British, French, etc.]?"

Muslims - Not speaking the language (21%), other (26.8%), ethnicity (20.8%)
Non-Muslims- not speaking the language (34.3%), other (24.1%), ethnicity (13%)

OSI's conclusion is that speaking the language is the most important thing. But I'm not really sure that's the right conclusion here. In fact, 66% of non-Muslims didn't rate that as the main barrier. Besides which, 33% of Muslims and 35% of non-Muslims did not answer the question ('none of these', 'don't know', 'other').

See here for more on the study.

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