The state of Islam in Britain

A whopping 56% of British Muslims can see 'why some people' would turn to suicide bombing.

July 11, 2006 22:31
3 minute read.
london anti-cartoon protest 298.88

london protest 298.88. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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The London transport bombings of July 2005 prompted no less than eight surveys of Muslim opinion in the United Kingdom within the year. When added to two surveys from 2004, they provide in the aggregate a unique insight into the thinking of the nearly 2 million Muslims in "Londonistan." The hostile mentality they portray is especially alarming when one recalls that London's police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, recently said that the threat of terrorism "is very grim" because there are, "as we speak, people in the UK planning further atrocities." The 7/7 attacks: About one in 20 British Muslims has voiced overt sympathy for the bombings a year ago. Separate polls find that between 2 and 6 percent endorse the attacks, 4 percent refuse to condemn them, 5 percent believe the Koran justifies them, and 6 percent say that the suicide bombers were acting in accord with the principles of Islam. Without endorsing the attacks, far larger numbers show an understanding for them: 13 percent say the 7/7 suicide bombers should be regarded as "martyrs," 16 percent say the attacks were wrong but the cause was right, while 20 percent feel sympathy for the "feelings and motives" of the attackers. A whopping 56 percent can see "why some people behave in that way." Help the police? A worrisome number of Muslims would not help the police if they suspected a fellow Muslim was planning a terrorist attack, ranging in different surveys from 5 to 14 to 18 percent. Violence acceptable? Before 7/7, 11 percent found it acceptable "for religious or political groups to use violence for political ends" but only 4 percent after the attacks, showing a rare improvement. Two polls turned up the identical figure of 7 percent of Muslims endorsing suicide attacks on civilians in the United Kingdom. (Among 18 to 24-year-olds, those most likely to carry out such an attack, the number jumps to 12 percent.) How about suicide attacks on the military in Britain? Positive answers came in at 16 and 21 percent (with 28 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds). Are the respondents themselves willing to embrace violence to bring an end to "decadent and immoral" Western society? One percent, or some 16,000 persons, answered in the affirmative. Muslim or British: Polling indicates that a majority of Muslims perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities. Two polls agree that only a small proportion identifies itself first as a British (7 and 12 percent) but they differ widely on the number who identify first with their religion (81 and 46 percent). Implementing Islamic law: Muslims widely agree that the Sharia (Islamic law) should reign in Britain. Forty percent approve of the Sharia being applied in predominantly Muslim areas and 61 percent want Sharia courts to settle civil cases among Muslims. All of 58 percent want those who criticize or insult Islam to face criminal prosecution. Schools should be prohibited from banning female pupils from wearing the hijab (head-scarf), says 55 percent, while 88 percent insist that schools and workplaces should accommodate Muslim prayer times. Integration into Britain: In a nearly mirror-image of each other, 65 percent say that Muslims need to do more to integrate into mainstream British culture and 36 percent say modern British values threaten the Islamic way of life. Twenty-seven percent feel conflicted between loyalty to fellow Muslims and to Britain. Of those who despise Western civilization and think Muslims "should seek to bring it to an end," 32 percent endorse non-violent means and 7 percent violent means. Attitudes toward Jews: Polls confirm that the anti-Semitism widespread in the Muslim world also rears its ugly head in the United Kingdom. About half the Muslims polled believe that Jews in Britain have too much influence over Britain's foreign policy and are in league with the Freemasons to control its media and politics. Some 37 percent consider Jews in Britain "legitimate targets as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East" and 16 percent state that suicide bombings can be justified in Israel. (Among 18 to 24-year-olds, that number rises to 21 percent.) In sum, over half of British Muslims want Islamic law and 5 percent endorse violence to achieve that end. These results demonstrate that Britain's potential terrorists live in a highly nurturing community.

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