Islam is a religion of peace. ISIL Terrorists are “a minority of a minority”. They have perverted a religion of peace and love in an attempt to justify their macabre Mediæval death cult. Or so we are told by our leaders, as they seek to sow the seeds of social cohesion in seemingly bare and barren soil.
Of course we know that the Koran preaches death in unequivocal terms for non-believers, and seems to justify all sorts of barbarity. One quote to catch the flavour: Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”. But then again, there are blood-curdling verses in the Bible – certainly in the Old Testament – which few Christians or Jews would seek to justify today. We understand that these are not the words of modern, civilised people, but of ancient tribal societies who lived in very different circumstances, and by very different standards.
I have sometimes made the same point with regard to the IRA. Yes, the IRA were evil terrorists – but we would hardly condemn all Catholics because the IRA claimed to come from Catholic roots. Following the Paris atrocities, the Muslim Council of Great Britain deserves credit for publishing full-page ads to reassure the British public that the attacks “do not reflect the Islamic faith”.
But perhaps we need to test the proposition that ISIL’s attitudes represent “a minority of a minority” amongst Muslims, and in this context I was interested (and not a little alarmed) to find a web-site called “Wiser Monkeys“, which pulls together published research from reputable polling organisations, and shines a light on attitudes in Muslim society more generally in Britain. It does not make comfortable reading.
In a 2015 poll for Survation, 39% of Muslims think the police and MI5 contribute to the radicalisation of young Muslims. 28% sympathise with young Muslims who leave the UK to fight in Syria. And a massive 40% do not think that Muslims have any obligation to condemn acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.
Fewer than half of all Muslims agree that the Holocaust happened (NOP 2006) while nearly half (46%) believe that 9/11 was a US/Jewish conspiracy, and 35% “don’t know”, leaving only one in five who recognise the reality. And indeed, almost unbelievably, there are already voices claiming that the recent Paris attacks were “staged” by the French authorities to present Muslims in a bad light. Sickening.
35% of young Muslims (25% overall) believe that suicide bombings are justified (Pew 2006). 16% believe that suicide attacks against Israelis are justified, while an alarming 37% see Jews in Britain as “legitimate targets” (Populus 2006). The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, 2005, finds that 18% of Muslim students would not inform the police that a fellow Muslim is planning a terror attack. 45% agree that clerics preaching violence against the West represent “mainstream Islam” (ComRes 2015).
There are many more statistics telling the same story. It’s probably true that terrorists are indeed a tiny minority. But in their own social context there are alarming numbers who broadly sympathise with them, and tend to justify and legitimise their activities. The research suggests that large sections of Muslim opinion in this country give comfort to terrorism and radicalisation.
It is true that not all Muslims are terrorists – though it is also true that all ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists claim to be Muslim. And it is alarming to see the extent of sympathy for their attitudes in the wider Muslim society.
It would be interesting (but difficult) to carry out similar research amongst the hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants currently arriving in Europe, but it seems unlikely that they would be any less sympathetic to Islamic Terrorism. A curious case of cognitive dissonance: they want to come to Europe and Britain as a safe haven from their war-torn homelands, and for the prosperity and employment they expect to find here – yet many regard the UK as “The Little Satan“, and sympathise with those who wish to undermine the basis of our free society.