Thursday, 23 May 2013

But the vast majority of British Muslims...

The line that the vast majority of British Muslims are peaceful and oppose violent extremism is one that I have heard already following the Woolwich terrorist attack and no doubt will hear over and over again on the BBC. But is it true?

Rather than vain hope, let's look at some facts.

From The Telegraph in 2008 (my emphasis):
'The YouGov poll was conducted for the Right-wing think tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion, at 12 universities, including Imperial College and Kings College London. It also found:
  • 40 per cent support the introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
  • a third back the notion of a worldwide Islamic caliphate (state) based on sharia law
  • 40 per feel it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely
  • 24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
  • a quarter have little or no respect for homosexuals.
Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was. Of these, 4 per cent said killing could be justified to "promote or preserve" religion, while 28 per cent said it was acceptable if that religion were under attack.'

From The Telegraph in 2007:
'Forty per cent of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 said they would prefer to live under sharia law in Britain, a legal system based on the teachings of the Koran. The figure among over-55s, in contrast, was only 17 per cent.'

From The Guardian in 2006:
'The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain.

The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year's London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice. Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France.

Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%).

By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a "notable exception" in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.'

From The Telegraph in 2006:
'Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today.
The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.


...Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives '

A small minority we are told. Well according to the 2011 census there are some 2.7 million Muslims in the UK, 4.8% of the total population. Let's extrapolate:

20% feel sympathy with the July 7 terrorists -  540,000 people

68% don't have a favorable opinion of Jews - 1,836,000 people

Feeling reasssured?

Just re the matter of tolerance, here's something that I've never heard the BBC menbtion when discussing attitudes towards homosexuality in the UK.
From The Guardian in 2009 (my emphasis):
'Muslims in Britain have zero tolerance towards homosexual acts compared to their counterparts in France and Germany, according to a survey published today.

The Gallup poll features the results of telephone and face-to-face interviews with Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK, France and Germany and is designed to measure global attitudes towards people from different faith traditions.

It shows that British Muslims hold more conservative opinions towards homosexual acts, abortion, viewing pornography, suicide and sex outside marriage than European Muslims, polling markedly lower when asked if they believed these things were morally acceptable.

The most dramatic contrast was found in attitudes towards homosexuality. None of the 500 British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable. 1,001 non-Muslim Britons were interviewed.

By comparison, 35% of French Muslims found homosexual acts to be acceptable. '

 So why are British Muslims more radical and extreme in their views than their counterparts in the rest of Europe? Maybe the universities are to blame:

From the first report I mentioned:
'The report's authors found that Islamic societies on campus, operating under the umbrella of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, exert a strong influence on many of Britain's 90,000 Muslim students. A quarter of them belong to Islamic societies and their views are often more extreme.

While three-fifths of society members said that killing in the name of religion was acceptable, an equal number of non-member Muslims said it was never justified. The security services have identified Islamist activism at universities acts as a possible "gateway" to violent extremism. Several terrorists and sympathisers began their extremist careers on campuses.

The authors of the report, "Islam on Campus", lay much of the blame for extremism among Muslim students on the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to build a worldwide Islamic state.

YouGov polled 600 Muslim students and 800 non-Muslim students at universities with a high number of Muslims.'

I'm sorry but 'London we have a problem'

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