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10 April 2015

More Than Half Of Americans Have Unfavorable View Of Islam, Poll Finds

More than half of Americans say they have unfavorable views of Islam, and six in 10 either aren't interested or don't know whether they want to learn more about the faith, according to a new poll.

Younger Americans are the most likely to have positive views on Islam, be interested in learning about the religion and have Muslim friends.

The findings, detailed in a HuffPost/YouGov poll on Americans’ views of Muslims released Friday as part of HuffPost Religion’s week-long Muslim Life in America series, show a nation of fractured opinions and experiences when it comes to Islam, with stark differences among age groups and political affiliations.

Overall, 55 percent of Americans had either a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Islam, while one in four said they were not sure how they viewed the faith. Just 7 percent said they had a very favorable view of the religion, and 14 percent said they saw it somewhat favorably. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Poll: Majority Have No Sympathy With Extremists

An exclusive poll suggests most Muslims think families are most responsible for stopping young people joining groups like IS.

More than a third of British Muslims say the actions of the authorities are contributing to the radicalisation of young people, according to an exclusive Sky News poll.

Some 39% of Muslims who were asked said the authorities, including police and MI5, were a factor in radicalising the younger generation, compared to 29% of Muslims who said they were not.

The research found the issue of young people travelling to fight with extremist groups, including Islamic State, or becoming so-called 'jihadi brides', remains highly controversial.

.... We asked 1,000 Muslims and 1,000 non-Muslims to share their opinions and found that while 71% of Muslims in the UK said the values of British society were compatible with those of Islam, 16% believed they were not.

[TOP RATED COMMENT ] Color me shocked.

[ANOTHER] So actually 29% of British Muslims (i.e. nearly one million Muslims) DON'T believe UK life is compatible with Islam. Surely that should be the headline!

[ANOTHER] Not integrated or assimilated and most Muslims don't want to be and thats the sad truth about people. The sad truth is that they have come to live in a free and open society but they form their own little ghettoes until it becomes like the medieval hole they came from?

As their numbers grow they seem to get more and more emboldened demanding special treatment and even different laws to live under [Sharia] and people in this country are getting a little bit fed up of them now and i mean Christians,Hindus,Jews and other faiths who rub along together with no issues. My fear is as their numbers increase their will at some time in the future be a flash point and civil unrest will ensue?

[ANOTHER] What absolute garbage! Yet again everyone else is to blame for everything EXCEPT the poor Muslims.

[ANOTHER] Of course it's the fault of the police..... Muslims never do anything wrong.

[ANOTHER] I would love to know exactly who (which NON mozlem population demographic) was targeted and where this survey was conducted. I would wager it was not conducted in Oxford, Rochdale, Rotherham or one of the cities or towns where the pakistani and other mozlem paedophile gangs have mass raped NON moslem British children or areas where izlamist thugs parade up and down demanding sharia law and special treatment for this insular minority group.

Once again we see the race card appear, use of the blame game and denial of the facts by mozlems in the UK. By far, most terror attacks and plots, atrocities are carried out across the world by the followers of the cult of izlam.

Large numbers of young "educated" mozlems,often from prominent families in the UK glorify and admire these murders and acts of cultural annihilation of other belief systems and justify this because their quran tells them to do it.

Even more disturbing is the desire amongst these "young educated mozlems" from Britain to join terror groups like ISIS etc. I wholly disagree with this "surveys" results and suggest the problem of radicalisation of mozlems in the UK lies 100% in the adherence to the texts of their quran and the what they are taught in their homes and mosques.

[ANOTHER] If Muslims don't like it in Britain there are plenty of other countries they can go to.

[ANOTHER] 16% should leave the UK then. That would be a start.

[ANOTHER] Well obviously the 52% should not be here, they should be in an Islamic country that suits their needs. I'll help them

[ANOTHER] Aren't they precious. Is there anything else they'd like us to change to suit them?

[ANOTHER] Simple solution: You have a problem with how we do things in the UK, we will pay, out of the public purse, for a one way flight for you to go to any country you want, and we'll keep your British passport here (if you have one).

I'd be happier for my tax money to go on that than almost any other public service I can think of.

[ANOTHER] Poor Sky, still distracted by the 'moderates' who mean absolutely nothing in the equation of civilisational differences.

It isn't the 3/4 Muslims who we are worried about. It is the one quarter of their ever growing population who are riding on the back of the entire religions level of devout fundamentalism, to establish Islamic extremism, that we are worried about. It is the 89% of Muslims in Pakistan who say they want the death penalty put in place for leaving the religion [PEW poll 2013] who we are worried about.

It is the upwards of 70% of Muslims in Egypt who also want the death penalty put in place for leaving Islam who we are worried about. It is the Saudi funded mosques and the silencing of all debate that we are worried about. It is our governments and their fear of being called 'Islamophobic' that we are worried about.

Islam has to be reformed. How will it be reformed if we accept it as it is, don't demand reformation and instead pretend there is nothing bad coming from its current spread?

Islamism is displacing and murdering hundreds of thousands of Christians right now, and all's the likes of Sky News can do is tell us there is no problem.

Why didn't you challenge these non-fundamental Muslims to speak out and protest against the Imams who are preaching fundamentalism? Why is it left to the likes of the EDL to demand change within Islam?

[ANOTHER] The koran encourages muslims to lie about their religion to non-muslims. Islam is not religion of peace, it's a religion of conquest. The only difference between an extremist and a "moderate" is a matter of patience. [Sky News] Read more

Poll reveals over a third of Muslims believe security services play role in radicalisation of young Muslims

The polls reveal some interesting findings on who young Muslims feel is contributing to radicalisation. According to the results, 38.9% of Muslims agreed with the statement “The actions of the police and MI5 are contributing to the radicalisation of young Muslims”. Those disagreeing that the police and MI5 were contributing to radicalisation was under a third, at 28.8%.

Earlier this year, the human rights campaign group, CAGE, argued that harassment by security services played a role in the radicalisation of Mohammed Emwazi, the student from London identified as “Jihadi John”, responsible for killing hostages for Islamic State. For making a causal link with perceived abuse by state authorities and radicalisation, CAGE, were widely condemned as “apologists for terror”. From the survey results, it would seem around 40% of British Muslims are also “apologists for terror”. [MEND] Read more

Poll: Majority Have No Sympathy With Extremists

.... The results found younger Muslims were more likely to see their values aligned to those of Britain, with 73% of those aged 18 to 34 agreeing, compared to 71% of those aged over 55.

Male Muslims were also more likely to agree - 78%, versus 64% for females.

On the issue of integration into UK society, the survey found 58% of non-Muslims believed their Muslim neighbours were not doing enough, with those aged over 55 more likely to be critical.

Two thirds of Muslims, however, said they were doing enough.

Anjum Anwar, one of the Muslims questioned in the survey, told Sky News: "Are we talking about integration or assimilation? That's the problem, because I see integration happening." [Sky News] Read more

MI5 and police partly to blame for radicalisation – say four in 10 British Muslims

Four in 10 British Muslims believe that police and MI5 are partly responsible for the radicalisation of young people who support extremists, new polling has found.

A survey commissioned by Sky News, also found that more than a quarter of British Muslims have some sympathy with those who have left to join fighters in Syria.

Among Muslim women and those under the age of 35, the figure rises to a third.

While almost three quarters of Muslims polled said they believe the “values of British society” are compatible with those of their religion, one in seven said they were not.

But the polling of 1,000 Muslims and 1,000 non-Muslims by Survation, also pointed to a growing sense of alienation between members of Britain’s fastest growing faith group and wider society.

A third of Muslims said they experience more suspicion from others than a few years ago.

The perception is backed up by polling of non-Muslims, of whom 44 per cent – and 49 per cent of men – admitted they were more suspicious of Muslims than they were.

Strikingly, only one in five (22 per cent) of non-Muslims saw Islam as compatible with British values, with just over half saying it is not. [The Telegraph] Read more

03 April 2015

Shocking Survey Results From Australia

Introduction
A Great Fallacy and a Sense of Being Under Siege
The Media is Unfair - What About the Christian Terrorist(s)?
Don't Call Me a Moderate
Attitudes Towards Terrorism and the War on Terror
Identity
Treatment of Australian Muslims
Opinion of Terrorism and Jihad
Opinion on Foreign Policy
Profile of Australian Muslims
Conclusion
Notes

Introduction

Three quarters of Australian Muslims think counter-terrorism policing and laws unfairly target their community according to a new study funded by the Australian Research Council. [1] Muslims in Australia feel under siege. This has generated a community backlash.

The authors say the findings show what the Australian authorities can do to minimise these impacts and generate community cooperation with counter-terrorism strategies.

The police should treat Muslims with respect, impartially, in a trustworthy manner, and give them an opportunity to have a say in counter-terrorism policing. This way Muslims are more likely to trust the police, less likely to feel under siege, and more willing to co-operate.

There is more to the study than this. A lot more.

The study is based on field work of 14 focus groups, totalling 104 participants, and a survey of 800 face-to-face interviews with Muslims living in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. [2]

Part 1 – What Muslims Think

A Great Fallacy and a Sense of Being Under Siege

The focus groups provide examples of what Australian Muslims typically have to say, verbatim comment, about their views and feelings. It gets off to a good start.

The very first verbatim comment in the opening section is:

".... we need to separate Islam and separate it from people because these al Qaeda and whoever else, they’re the ones who are saying they’re Muslims and doing these acts, but a true Muslim wouldn’t do that ...."

"... and that’s why I think it sounded to me that these events September 11, the London bombings, all the things that are coming…making people think that Muslims all around the world believe in these acts and follow them, we’re all evil, but in actual fact, doesn’t have to be like that, and these groups and whoever else, all they’re doing is causing us grief" (female).

Focus group participants spoke about an atmosphere of fear and suspicion towards Muslims they experienced in their day-day interactions. Several examples are given. One participant remembered how his friend had told him that his non-Muslim neighbour's son stopped coming to play after 9/11. One young female participant recalled "a couple of weeks ago, I had a customer tell me that he'd rather be served by an Australian".

The qualitative survey following the focus groups asked no questions to give a measure of the extent of these experiences.

A sense of Muslims being under siege and attack was expressed in a variety of ways.

"Why is the world against us, why are we seen to be the bad people?...God does not accept people blowing themselves up in the name of God. .... The whole notion is to destroy Islam and its followers. The whole world is against us." (female).

For some participants it reflected a long history of persecution against Islam and was interpreted as part of a broader effort by governments to suppress Muslims.

"...it's the same old story of them just lop siding the news and just singling out the Muslims because you [i.e. western governments] simply don't like them."

The study provides no elucidation of this belief in a "history of persecution". The historical dimension of some of the results is discussed below.

The Media is Unfair - What About the Christian Terrorist(s)?

The focus groups concentrated on a number of topics including the "Media". There was a strong belief across the groups that media reporting exacerbated the stigmatisation of Muslims. A male participant said:

"I think the media has a big impact on the Muslim community here. Every time we watch media, they associate Islam with the terrorism, they say Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorists. They don’t say Christian terrorists, they don’t say for example like Jewish terrorist, although we have seen lots of Christians they are doing terrorist acts… they want to show that Muslim and Islam is a source of terrorism, so this has a big impact on the way people are thinking."

And another said: "I think the media is very hypocritical….You get a guy in Norway [in reference to Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011] who kills so many people and he’s just sick, he’s not – whereas if it was a Muslim guy it would have been he’s a terrorist."

As invidious as it is one has to ask just how many Christian terrorists are there compared with Muslim terrorists? How many Breiviks have there been? Is there a trans-national Christian organisation such as al Qaeda responsible for terrorism on an industrial scale?

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) [3] gives a wide definition to terrorism: "the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation".

Worldwide there are thousands of causes and organisations involved in such violence. In a high proportion of incidents the perpetrator is simply listed as "unknown" and it is easy to come up with a variety of statistical conclusions, but what is very clear is that in 2012 and 2013, for example, the major proportion of terrorist outrages occurred in Muslim or predominantly Muslim countries, 74% of 8440 incidents in 2012 and 76% of 11,952 in 2013. There is good reason to associate the label "terrorist" with Islam.

Concentrating on large scale "terrorism" (like blowing up an aircraft) carried out for a religious reason or with a religious justification in the shape of attacks on innocent civilians in Western countries or places frequented by Westerners, Islam wins handsomely.

Focus group participants also complained generalisations made in the media about Islam and terrorism, distorted the fact there were many different denominations and “branches” of Islam, all of which did not interpret or practice Islam in the same way.

It would be interesting to know what they meant by this. Are they trying to say that some interpretations of Islam permit violence ("terrorism") to further Islamic objectives? This would of course be at odds with the "no true Muslim" explanation mentioned above. Table 4 in the next section shows 26% of Australian Muslims believe the concept Jihad in Islam supports use of violence as a means to an end.

Don't Call Me a Moderate

Australian Muslims don't like the "moderate" label. The term is often used to mean Muslims who are anti-terrorist but when used by the media, governments or police, it can give the impression Muslims are being told how they should practice Islam. As one participant put it:

"When I hear the word - the term moderate Muslim, it makes me think of a lazy Muslim. . .... So to call us moderate Muslims is a bit of in your face and it’s something that’s not appreciated by the majority of Muslims" (male) .

And another: "I do think it's unhelpful, because I identify as a Muslim. I don't identify as a moderate Muslim. I identify as Muslim, period. I identify as Muslim because I understand that Muslim - sorry, Islam - teaches me peace and it teaches me to be a good person and to conduct my way - myself in a way that is fair to everybody around me, fair to myself. So yeah, it's just - I think it's an unnecessary label, again" (female).

It would have been useful here to say more about the meaning of "moderate". Terrorism can be viewed as violence in the cause of big things, such as the removal of infidels from Muslim lands, the declared objective of al Qaeda. Some Muslims also believe in and practice violence in regard to "small things" on a human scale; flogging as a punishment, amputation for theft, death for apostasy, death for blasphemy, stoning for adultery, etc.

To most non-Muslims the term moderate means these ancient violent practices have been dropped. Would Australian Muslims be happy to be called moderate in this case or are they, as "regular" Muslims, in favour of, for example, the 1000 lashes being administered to Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger, for ridiculing Saudi Arabia’s religious police and insulting Islamic religious figures. [4]

Attitudes Towards Terrorism and the War on Terror

The study aimed to understand how the Muslim community felt about terrorist groups and events such as 9/11, 7/7, the Bali Bombings and other high profile terrorist events and whether they believed Islamists distort the Islamic religion, and what they saw as motivating their actions.

Participants were adamant that terrorists who called themselves Muslims were distorting the meaning of Islam as a religion of peace. As one respondent stated: “They weren’t practicing Muslims.”

Other comments included: "These guys [terrorists] are minorities. They don't speak on behalf of one point something billion Muslims around the world. You know what I mean?" (male).

“There are a lot of people that are doing these things [in reference to terrorism] are obviously not true Muslim because as earlier we spoke, Islam means peace, so if anybody says that I’m a Muslim and goes to war and does things like that, is really a non believer” (female).

"...a person cannot commit suicide and blow themselves up and other innocent people up it’s completely, haram, suicide is haram, and the scholars have absolutely condemned it, so I mean that’s wrong" (female).

The "no true Muslim" belief runs very deep.

The response to the question “what motivates individuals or groups to commit terrorist acts” is equally strong.

In the opinion of participants the act of terrorism could not be divorced from broader events that fuelled resentment and frustration among Muslim populations. These events included:

[1] The Israel and Palestine conflict and the death of Palestinians due to what respondents regarded as Israeli aggression and unwillingness on the part of the international community to sanction Israel.

[2] The death of Muslims in wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and

[3] The lack of public and political outcry shown towards Muslim victims of overseas conflicts and government oppression compared to other religious on non-religious groups.

The quote below from a young female Muslim, sums up these sentiments expressed across the focus groups and the level of frustration they evoked:

".....a lot of it is political and it's - you have to - you can't just go from one thing and say, that's why it's started. So you can't just start from September 11 and say, oh, September 11 happened and that's when it started. Yeah, we have to really look back into history and look at the history of occupation and invasion throughout the Middle East, which resulted in September 11."

".... it's really interesting how since September 11 happened till now, every year it's always - people remember it .... and say that we lost so many people. But people - the invasion of Iraq does not - there is no such thing about, oh, maybe we did kill millions of people, not 1000, millions ... no one talks about that. Maybe we should commemorate that loss and that invasion day. Nope, you never hear that."

"About Afghanistan, more than 30 years of occupation and invasion throughout history from different countries. You never hear about that. That's the injustice. That's where injustice happens and that's when you feel a lot of - I feel, inside, I feel that there's a lot of - what's the word? There's like I'm boiling from inside. It infuriates me" (female).

A male participant also summed it up well: "Every terrorist act we need to think what is the reason behind that first of all, the oppression against Islam everywhere around the world, every Muslim country has been attacked in the world from [inaudible] and now Syria and Libya, and after all the Muslim countries in a mess because of the western countries, so they play a big role" (male).

All this displays a shocking ignorance and a strikingly one sided view of history. The present writer in a few words here is not going to throw any new light on the Israel and Palestine conflict, but it's worth a few remarks on the big picture to counter a belief in a "history of occupation and invasion throughout the Middle East", and the deaths of "millions" of Muslims caused by or at the hands of outsiders.

The Islamic world including the Middle East has governed itself since the mid-sixties, and the invasions, occupations, and Muslim deaths since then have been overwhelmingly the work of Muslims themselves. Here are a few examples: Pakistan and Bangladesh (1,250,000 deaths); the Iran-Iraq war (1,000,000); Saddam against minorities (300,0000); Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Turkey (300,000); Islamists and Algerian government (200,000); Invasion of Kuwait (140,000); the Lebanese civil war (150,000).

There is a range of estimates regarding the Iraq war since 2003 and the ensuing insurgencies and civil conflicts. Respectable sources do not run into "millions". The greatest number of deaths is the result of Muslims fighting amongst themselves for tribal or religious reasons.

Further research to establish if the views of Australian Muslims are based on any reasonable reading and knowledge of the facts, and their reactions to other historical accounts would be helpful. [5] How much of their outlook is the result of cultural baggage rather than genuine historical knowledge?

"Ignorance of History Fuels Australian Muslim Backlash Against Counter-Terrorism Laws" would be a reasonable headline for a report on this study.

If they had a better grasp of history, would they be more inclined to understand and support the Australian counter-terrorism policing and laws? Perhaps the Australian government should undertake a public education campaign. Perhaps that would be just as effective as polite and civilised policing.

The above is worrying but there is worse.

For a minority of participants the "war on terror" arises from "manufactured events" being used by governments and powerful interests to discredit Islam and further justify the singling out of Muslim communities. These sentiments were particularly pronounced among young participants.

The comment below reflects this theme and its relationship to the ongoing perception that rose throughout the focus groups that Islam was under attack:

"But first, can we confirm that these people committed these crimes. How do you know that some Zionist movement or American people haven’t paid their people to commit these crimes [in reference the September 11 attacks] in the name of Islam to show how bad we are?"

"We must create a balanced view and all terrorist crimes can be confirmed that Muslims committed them. September 11 attacks to me are very suspicious, when you hear that many hundreds of people where [sic] not in the building at the time of the planes crashing into them. .... I really hate what is going on at the moment, as we, the Muslims are being targeted every single day, people are looking down at us, they hate us, we always have to give reasons to why this happened" [in reference to acts of terrorism] (male).

Any society produces eccentrics, nutcases, and people with strange beliefs, and usually they can be ignored, but here the authors of this study go to the trouble of drawing our attention to what this "minority of participants" has to say. A significant number of Australian Muslims think like this.

Truly, a shocking result.

And as if to rub it in the March 23 edition "The Age", an Australian newspaper, carries the news that the principal of Victoria's largest Islamic school told students not to join Islamic State because it is a plot by Western countries. He told the newspaper he believed IS was a scheme by Israel and America to control oil in the Middle East. Unbelievable, except it backs up the findings of this study. [6]

Part 2 – How the Numbers Add Up

This section summarises results from the 800 face-to-face interviews with Muslims living in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The aim of this part of survey was to assess how Muslims in Australia see themselves in society and how they believe others in society view them. The Tables show the percentage of Muslims giving a particular reply to a question. [7]

Identity

Muslim Australians identify much more strongly with their religion than they do with being an Australian.

Table 1 shows pride in being a Muslim has the edge over pride in being an Australian. And Table 2 shows seeing oneself as a Muslim first clearly beats seeing oneself as an Australian first.

Table 1
I am proud to be:Strongly
Disagree
DisagreeNeitherAgreeStrongly
Agree
An Australian02144837
Muslim0023960

Table 2
I see myself as aStrongly
Disagree
DisagreeNeitherAgreeStrongly
Agree
Muslim First0263359
An Australian First422212528

Treatment of Australian Muslims

More than half of Australian Muslims think they are treated fairly at work, at school and by the authorities. There is a degree of reserve associated with this, not many going for "very fair" just "fair" and a quarter staying neutral.

A clear majority think they are treated unfairly in the media.

Table 3
How Fairly Do You Think Muslims Are Treated?Very
Unfair
UnfairNeutralFairVery
Fair
At Work or in School311274317
When Dealing With Authorities312293917
In the Media3227122010

Opinion of Terrorism and Jihad

21% think terrorists sometimes have valid grievances, but more interesting is the 26% who think "the concept of Jihad in Islam supports use of violence as a means to an end" and the 25% who say Jihad is more than a "personal struggle for righteousness".

This suggests a quarter or so of Muslim Australians believe the use of violence is justified in furthering the aims of Islam. So much for the "religion of peace" and the "no true Muslim" conceit.

Table 4 - Here are some statements that describe different views on terrorism and the Muslim religion
What most closely resembles your own view?Strongly
Disagree
DisagreeNeitherAgreeStrongly
Agree
Terrorists sometimes have valid grievances323514156
Islam is often misinterpreted as a religion that advocates violence0123067
The concept of Jihad in Islam supports use of violence as a means to an end2832151610
Jihad is solely a personal struggle for righteousness322273513
Jihad is a militarized struggle that can be conducted by individuals6329521

Opinion on Foreign Policy

Over a third (36%) of Muslim Australians believe the "war on terror" is a "war on Islam". It seems however polite the police are it will not earn the support of these Muslims for Australia's counter-terrorism laws and procedures.

Table 5 - Here are some statements that describe some people’s views of Australia’s international policies
What most closely resembles your own view?Strongly
Disagree
DisagreeNeitherAgreeStrongly
Agree
Australia made the right decision to align itself with the US with respect to military force in Afghanistan27531551
Australia made the right decision to align itself with the US with respect to military force in Iraq3453941
The War on Terror is a War on Islam3022122412

Profile of Australian Muslims

The survey also collected demographic and profile data of the sample which the organisers of the study had gone to considerable lengths to make representative of Australian Muslims. Table 8 delivers one more shock.

English is not the main language spoken at home for well over a half (57%) of Australian Muslims. This is a stark indicator of the troubling gap between many of Australia's Muslims and the rest of the Australian people.

It suggests other questions that should be explored. If they speak Arabic at home do they get their news from Arabic sources? Do they take in the poisonous propaganda that pours out of the Middle East especially in regard to the Israel and Palestine conflict. [8]

Table 6YesNo
Were you born in Australia?5842

Table 7
How would you best describe your ancestry?%
Lebanese38
Pakistani11
Indonesian10
Iraqi7
Egyptian5
28 other ancestriesEach less than 4%

Table 8YesNo
Is English the main language you speak at home?4357

Conclusion

As this report concludes, polite and civilised policing can do a lot to encourage Muslim citizens to support Australia's counter-terrorism laws and measures. It might be added this is true for all citizens who probably believe polite and civilised policing should be the norm for everyone.

It does not address the bigger barrier to support and co-operation for counter-terrorism laws and measures. A substantial proportion of Australian Muslims out of ignorance of history, cultural baggage, and their religious beliefs, in their hearts or in their heads, don't agree with them.

Notes

[1] "Avoiding Community Backlash in the fight against terrorism: Research report" March 2015: Kristina Murphy, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Griffith University; Adrian Cherney, School of Social Sciences, The University of Queensland; Julie Barkworth, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Griffith University. Available here.

Media coverage: The Guardian (UK); The Conversation; Islam Today.

[2] The focus groups were carried out between October 2013 and September 2014 and the survey between 17th of June and the 9th of August 2014

[3] The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at the University of Maryland. See here.

[4] Amnesty International UK - Saudi Arabia, Free Raif Badawi. See here.

[5] Knowledge of earlier history is relevant. What do Australian Muslims know of the centuries of failure of Islamic government to make political, economic or social progress that culminated in the Caliphate's declaration of war on Britain and her allies in 1914? The foundations and divisions of the Middle East we know today were laid during those centuries of backwardness.

Do they know who abolished the Caliphate, the act that so exercised bin Laden? And, what do Australian Muslims make of Anzac day?

[6] "Islamic State is a plot by Western countries, Victoria's Al-Taqwa College principal tells students". Media coverage: The Age; Brisbane Times; 3AW.

[7] The survey consisted of four sections. Section 1 collected data on the demographic background of the respondents. Section 2 assessed how Muslims in Australia see themselves in society and how they believe others in society view them. Sections 3 and 4 covered Muslims’ attitudes toward the police and the policing of terrorism. Only sections 1 and 2 are summarised here.

[8] "Corrupting the land". Imad Hamato, Professor of Quranic Studies, University of Palestine in Gaza, and the host ‎of a weekly PA TV program on Islam. See here.

01 April 2015

Responses to recent YouGov poll on Islam and British values

A recent YouGov poll finds that 55% of British voters (based on a sample of 1641 adults) believe that "There is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society"

The poll appears to have received little media attention – but here’s one comment on its findings:

The poll seems to reflect public concerns about so called “Muslim extremism” which may have been exacerbated by hostile media coverage and a plethora of government statements and policies over tackling radicalisation. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Islam and “British values” – do Brits believe them to be compatible?

.... of the 1641 adults polled by YouGov, only 22% said they felt “Islam is generally compatible with the values of British society”. Fifty five percent of people agreed with the statement “There is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society”, while almost 25% didn’t adopt either statement or answered ‘don’t know’.

That is, more people opted not to offer a response to the statements than affirmed that “Islam is generally compatible with the values of British society”. And over half of those polled said they believed “There is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society”.

The data broken down by party affiliation shows that UKIP supporters are most likely to believe in the clash of values between Islam and Britain (89%) and the Lib Dems least likely (38%) with the Conservatives taking second place after UKIP (68%) and Labour, third place (48%). [31 March, MEND] Read more

The majority of voters doubt that Islam is compatible with British values

.... A clear distinction must be made, Mrs May concluded, between followers of the Islamic faith, which is “entirely compatible” with British values, and extremists who claim there is a “fundamental incompatibility”. Hence the keystone of her new strategy is a proud promotion of “the values that unite us”.

Except they don’t unite us, according to a majority of the British public. As a recent survey by the YouGov-Cambridge Programme shows, a striking 55 per cent of British voters currently think “there is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society”, compared with just 22 per cent – little over one in five – who say Islam and British values are “generally compatible”.

Among Tory supporters, this gap increases to 68 per cent who say “clash” versus 17 per cent who think “compatible”. Ukip supporters look almost unanimous on the issue (89 per cent “clash” versus 4 per cent “compatible”) while roughly half of Labour supporters take the negative view (48 per cent “clash” versus 27 per cent “compatible”) and Lib Dems are divided (38 per cent “clash” versus 39 per cent “compatible). [30 March, The Telegraph] Read more

20 March 2015

Most Canadians say faces shouldn’t be covered at citizenship ceremonies: poll

A new Global News/Ipsos Reid poll indicates most Canadians agree with the prime minister when it comes to face coverings while taking their oath at citizenship ceremonies.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently said that wearing the niqab is “rooted in a culture that is anti-women” and that it is “offensive” for someone to keep their face shrouded during the citizenship ceremony.

The poll indicated that 88 per cent of Canadians strongly or somewhat support the “requirement that people show their faces during Canadian citizenship ceremonies.” [Globalnews.ca] Read more

Canadians oppose niqab during citizenship ceremony, poll suggests

Two-thirds of Canadians oppose allowing women to wear the face-covering niqab during citizenship ceremonies, a new poll by Forum Research suggests.

The public opinion survey, conducted Friday and Saturday, found that 67 per cent of respondents oppose the idea, while fewer than a quarter (22 per cent) are in support. Ten per cent are undecided.

A total of 1,370 Canadian adults took part in the survey.

Regionally, opposition was highest in Quebec, where 87 per cent of respondents oppose the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, and lowest in the Atlantic provinces, where 54 per cent of respondents oppose the idea.

Sixty-three per cent oppose it in Ontario.

The issue has come to public prominence after Zunera Ishaq refused to take off her niqab during the oath swearing portion of her citizenship ceremony. [17 March, Toronto Star] Read more

16 March 2015

Three-quarters of Muslim Australians feel they are unfairly targeted by terror laws, study reveals

Muslim Australians believe overwhelmingly that they are unfairly targeted by counter-terrorism laws but say terrorist groups distort the true meaning of Islam, a survey of community attitudes has revealed.

Around one in five of the 800 Muslims polled believed that terrorist groups sometimes have legitimate grievances, the survey found, hinting at the delicate task Australian community leaders face in countering the propaganda war waged by groups such as Islamic State.

The researchers, including University of Queensland criminologist Adrian Cherney, said the findings showed that police, especially those in Sydney, needed to do more to build trust and a willingness to cooperate among Muslim communities. [421 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT] .... WELL, of all the immigrants in Australia, it isn't maoris, Tongans, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Dutch, Swedes, French, Germans, Jews, English, Americans Spanish, Irish etc etc etc who are behind the terrorist acts that have brought about the changes to our laws.

To deny there is a link between terrorism in and against the West and muslims beggars belief. Who would think that the terrorist laws drawn up in almost every Western country are not reasonably targeted at muslims? Nobody else did the 9/11 Twin Towers...nobody else did the Paris shootings and nobody else did the Lindt Cafe killings......and most importantly, only muslims to any degree express sympathy for the perpetrators.

Are muslims completely stupid to the extent that they can't work out why they're the target of anti terrorism laws? I know they're reputed to have lower than average IQs but this is ridiculous.

I think muslims don't like infidels because we're not religious enough, yet, they choose to live amongst us infidels, and then complain about us carrying on our lives in the way that we always have.

[ANOTHER] "One of the most damaging and enduringly damaging things this regime has done is to continually highlight and isolate Australian Muslims through its actions and words and the use of conflict as a tactic when its poll rating flag."

Wrong - Muslims have isolated themselves.

[ANOTHER] It is such a difficult situation. I know a number of Muslims personally and also professionally. There is not one unpleasant statement I can make about any of them. they are all polite, intelligent, hard working and caring, yet at the same time I cannot dispute the fact that more than 90% of terrorist acts that I read about are undertaken by muslims, on behalf of muslim organisations, in the name of Allah and are simply barbaric

wiser minds than mine need to work out a way to maintain the safety of the public and not offend what are no doubt the majority of peace loving muslims

[ANOTHER] Holding rallies calling for the deaths of those who insult the prophet might have something to do with it.

Ceasing the anti-Israel rhetoric might also help.

Clamping down on the halal certification scam (named as such by muslims themselves) would be a good idea, too.

I'd start with attitudes like that.

[ANOTHER] one in five believe terrorist groups have legitimate grievences? seriously and this backwards culture wonders why it is targeted. 400 000 Muslims in Australia , statistically thats 80 000 muslims that admit to holding these views in this country.

[ANOTHER] A few years ago I worked in an M.P.s office for a while in Western Sydney and one day received a call from a journalist from a Muslim newspaper.

The caller complained that "the level of hostility is rising" and wanted his M.P. "to do something about".

I passed on the message but what I should have said to him was that if he wanted more acceptance then the best thing to do would be to denounce individuals like Taj El-Din Hilaly, the former Imam at Lakemba mosque who made statements comparing women to uncovered meat as a justification for rape.

Other Muslims that I have spoken to believe that the September 11 attacks and the Taj Mahal hotel attacks in Mumbai were the work of the CIA as a means to "discredit Muslims".

Until these sorts of ideas - which are evidently prevalent in the Muslim community - are themselves discredited, little progress will be made in improving the acceptance of Muslims in the wider population.

The Dutch politician Geert Wilders described the attitude of many Muslims as that of "settlers" in a new land that they intend to occupy and one that they will eventually dominate with the introduction of Sharia Law and Islamic culture.

No other group believes that they have the right to force their beliefs on to the rest of the population so why should the Muslim community be surprised if hostility and rejection are the consequence of that insistence?

[ANOTHER] Islam belongs in the dark ages from where it came, and that is why in EVERY western civilised country they find themselves at odds with the citizens they have begged to live with and aspire to be like....the thing is, you can't have the Western goodies without playing the Western game and behaving like you're living in Moses' time is not a great start...

[ANOTHER] Tough luck. Islamic extremism is pretty real and people are scared of it. The govt may be overplaying it for politics, but there is legitimate fear too.

I'm pretty well over muslims telling us that ISIS and those like them are not true muslims. I don't buy that.

.... The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

[ANOTHER] Muslims are in a hard place, Australian Law contradicts Islamic Law and hence why they feel targeted

Death for being Raped, Apostasy, Homosexuality, the fact that women are equal, children are not allow to marry, polygamy etc contradicts Islamic Law and why they see Australian society as unfare. [The Guardian] Read more