By Ian Dunt
Britain's Muslim population identify with Britain more than the general population, a surprise new poll has found.
A Gallup survey found 77 per cent of Muslims said they "identified with the UK", compared to just 50 per cent of the public at large.
Seventy-five per cent of the Muslims questioned also said they identify with their religion.
"This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration couldn't be more wide of the mark," said Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies.
"British Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute to society however in many cases it is a harsh economic reality that holds them back and stops them from realising their full potential."
The survey, conducted with the interfaith Coexist Foundation, found far greater trust in institutions among Britain's Islamic community than for the population at large.
Belief in the courts, honest elections, financial institutions and the media were far higher in the Muslim groups, although for obvious reasons confidence in the military was lower.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said: "I hope the findings of this poll will bring about a qualitative contribution to the discussion on British Muslims.
"For too long, we have been subject to cynical opinion masquerading as fact. British Muslims are very much part of this nation's cultural, social and economic fabric. But naysayers will want to tell you otherwise, and will wish to drive a wedge between fellow Britons."
Eighty-two per cent of Muslims said they were loyal to the UK, although this is not felt by the general public, only 36 per cent of whom agreed.
Similarly, 88 per cent of Muslims did not think removing the veil was necessary for integration, but only 47 per cent of the general public agreed with them.
The survey also contained evidence of increased hardship among the Muslim community, with only seven per cent describing themselves as thriving, compared to 56 per cent of the general population.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "This report's findings are good news for the long-term integration of British Muslims.
"However, there are real challenges in the economic marginalisation of communities where Muslims are much less likely to be in work."
Gallup conducted face-face interviews with over 500 Muslims in 18 areas where they constitute 5 per cent of the population. It then compared the results with 1,000 interviews with the general population conducted over the phone.