Survey Challenges MI5 Views of Muslims
Ismaeel Nakhuda, Arab News
JEDDAH, 12 November 2006 — A leading British anti-racist charity has produced statistics challenging recent headline-grabbing claims made by the head of British intelligence that there is overwhelming support among UK Muslims for the 7/7 underground tube bombings.
The findings of the new survey, carried out by the “1990 Trust,” counters claims made by Head of MI5 Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller in a public speech on Thursday in which she said there is sizeable Muslim support for terrorism.
The survey entitled “Muslim Views: Foreign Policy and its Effects” surveyed 1,213 Muslims across Great Britain in October and found that despite overwhelming disagreement with UK foreign policy there is almost no support for terrorism amongst Britain’s Muslim community.
The survey found that a mere 1 percent of those surveyed supported the 7/7 London bombings.
The report directly questions Manningham-Buller’s comments that “if the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July bomb attacks in London were justified.”
Certain right-wing newspapers subsequently reported this as “widespread sympathy for terrorism within Britain.”
Karen Chouhan of the 1990 Trust said, “This is nothing short of irresponsible politicking and journalism which is designed to create a moral panic to pave the way for renewed legislative assaults on civil liberties and can only serve to fuel fears and hostility towards Muslim communities in the UK.”
The 1990 Trust say their new survey accurately reflects the real views of Muslims.
The charity also found that surveys conducted by respected pollsters such as ICM and YouGov show artificially high rates of support for extremism due to the way questions are asked, which are then spun and hyped by the national British media.
The survey shows that 91 percent of British Muslims disagree with UK foreign policy and that 82 percent of Muslims have become more radicalized in recent times in the form of attending demonstrations, writing to their MPs and becoming involved in the democratic process.
Less than 1 percent of Muslims say they obtain information on the Middle East from mosques and religious leaders.
According to British Muslim leaders, Manningham-Buller’s comments are seen to further stoke hostility towards Britain’s Muslim minorities who have seen an increase in verbal and physical abuse in recent months.
Ruhul Tarafder, campaign coordinator at the Trust, said, “It is as a consequence of foreign policy that primarily relations between communities have deteriorated.
“The Muslim community seems now to be scapegoated by the government and the media for the former’s own disastrous debacles across the Middle East.”
He added, “We believe this survey into the views of UK Muslims is one of the most comprehensive ever produced, and gives new insights into a range of issues. Policy-makers who are serious about creating genuine good race relations and equal outcomes cannot afford to ignore its conclusions.”
Karen Chouhan added, “Why is it that the positive stories (about British Muslims) don’t make the news or politicians’ speeches — because it doesn’t suit their agenda of maintaining the foreign policy and deflecting their blame onto Muslims.”
The 1990 Trust is the UK’s first national organization set up to protect and pioneer the interest of Britain’s black and ethnic minority communities. The report can be viewed at www.blink.org.uk.