Amir Khan, one of the most prominent flag wavers among the nation's Muslim population, often speaks in interviews about his sense of national pride.
Amir Khan, one of the most prominent flag wavers among the nation's Muslim population, often speaks in interviews about his sense of national pride.

British Muslims are more patriotic than the rest of the population, according to a poll on what symbolises the best of British.

When asked if they agreed with the statement "I am proud to be a British citizen", 83 per cent of British Muslims said they did, compared to the national average of 79 per cent.

The poll of 2,000 people, taken by the think-tank Demos, also revealed that British Muslim are more optimistic than the average Brit, with 31 per cent thinking that our country's best days are in the past compared to the average of 45 per cent.

It is believed that patriotism among Muslims is driven by a desire to defend themselves against hostility felt towards them and an appreciation of the freedom UK citizens enjoy compared to the countries where their ancestors were born.

The report found: "This optimism in British Muslims is significant, as - combined with their high score for pride in being British - it runs counter to a prevailing narrative about Muslim dissatisfaction with and in the UK."

Around half the people who took part in the survey agreed that Britain benefited from multiculturalism, with sports stars such as British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan being cited as an icon.

Tahir Shah, from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, agreed with the results.

He said: "Most Muslims are not loud, radical, crazy lunatics like Anjem Choudary, who want to get publicity for themselves. They want to get on with their lives quietly. They are proud to be British.

"Britain is a shining example. We know that in many other countries Muslims have it worse. In mainland Europe, countries such as France have introduced various Islamophobic laws.

"Muslims can practise their faith openly in the UK, and many people are thankful for that."

The poll also found that Shakespeare, the National Trust and the armed forces were the top three most prized national treasures, with the Bard topping the poll with 75 per cent.

The Union Jack, the pound and the National Health Service also featured in the top ten list of Britain's most prized treasure, along with the monarchy, the BBC and The Beatles.