Most Brits are concerned about the growing influence of Islam in the UK and believe that Islam is dividing the nation, according to a new survey.
The annual British Social Attitudes survey found that 52 per cent of the population believe that Britain is deeply divided along religious lines, with just one in four people feeling positive about Islam.
The survey also revealed that 55 per cent of the population would be strongly opposed if a large mosque was built in their area.
Only 15 per cent of the population said they would have similar concerns about a church being built.
The survey’s results, to be published in full later this month, will raise concerns that the Government’s policy of promoting ‘social cohesion’ is not working.
The results also show that unhappiness over the influence of Islam is now a matter of national concern.
Professor David Voas, head of population studies at Manchester University, who analysed the findings, warned that the growing concern about Islam is because of “the degree to which Islam is perceived as a threat to social cohesion”.
Mr Voas said: “Muslims deserve to be the focus of policy on social cohesion, because no other group elicits so much disquiet.”
He added: “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.”
The British Social Attitudes Survey was produced by leading academics from interviews with 4,468 people.
Statisticians have recently predicted that European Union countries including Britain can expect to see a large increase in the Muslim population by the middle of the 21st century.
Last week the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague warned that Europe faces Islamisation because it has denied its Christian roots.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said Europe will “pay dear” for having left its spiritual foundations, and said that it was now in the last period when a chance remained to do something about it.