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World News

73 per cent of Brits have friends from different faiths, poll finds

by Heather Preston

New research has revealed that the majority of Brits believe the UK welcomes religious diversity and that knowledge of different faiths is valuable in society.

A poll commissioned by the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL) found that 60 per cent of respondents see the UK as a place where generally someone of any faith would be made to feel welcome.

The survey of 2,064 UK adults also found multi-faith friendships were high, with 73 per cent of respondents having friends of different faiths, this figure rose to 75 per cent amongst Christians and Muslims.

However, confidence that religion is a force for good in society was low, with just 36 per cent agreeing, while 27 per cent of respondents disagreed. The research also showed some resistance to the presence of religion in politics and working life, with under half of the sample regarding religion in the workplace as positive.

Thirty-six per cent of the sample agreed that politicians should speak religion compared to 38 per cent who disagreed.

The study did reveal religion as an important part of UK life. Sixty-two per cent agree that Christian heritage is an important aspect of British culture, with 65 per cent of Muslim, 80 per cent of Christians, and 87 per cent of Jews agreeing.

When it came to education, 66 per cent agreed with the statement “it is good that children are taught religious education”, and 80 per cent consider knowledge of other faiths important in modern society.

More than half of all respondents agree with the statement, “faith has been a significant factor in influencing Western beliefs about values like equality and compassion”, while 26 per cent disagreed.

Amanda Murjan, assistant researcher for IIFL, said the results display “a belief, even among the non-religious, that faith and religion are positive aspects of UK life.”

“Education and personal responsibility in seeing and responding to others with clarity and compassion are prized, and misrepresentations are resisted,” Murjan added.



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