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British Muslims do not condemn terrorism: Newspaper poll

British Muslims do not condemn terrorism: Newspaper poll

Author: Vijay Dutt
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: December 6, 2002

One in five British Muslims feels little loyalty towards Britain. A minority of them are also not prepared to condemn the terrorist attacks carried out by Osama bin Laden nor acknowledge Al-Qaeda as the perpetrators.

These findings in a poll conducted by The Daily Telegraph are hardly surprising but nevertheless deepen the apprehension in the intelligence of terrorist attacks in the country through sleepers.

The report concludes with remarks from Anthony King, a professor at the University of Essex, that the portrait of British Muslims' attitude towards international terrorism that emeges from the poll is at once reassuring and somewhat chilling.

He says, "On the surface everything seems placid but the survey also shows that within the community there are deep and sinister undercurrents." The most disturbing finding is that 66 per cent feel that relations between Muslims and non-Muslims has deteriorated since 9/11.

Nearly 86 per cent have also acknowledged that further attack in Britain would worsen relations.

The poll showed that just under half of those surveyed did not accept that attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon were carried out by Muslims. This means that almost 50 per cent of nearly two million Muslims in this country still cling to the theory floated after 9/11 that attacks in the US were planned to defame Islam.

Almost 13 per cent of those questioned were bold enough to say that they felt "not very loyal" towards Britain and six per cent "not loyal at all", 31 per cent felt "very loyal" and 44 per cent "fairly loyal". An analyst told the Hindustan Times that even among the very loyal and fairly loyal one should discount for those who might have been "diplomatic".

The paper has said that the pollsters found the survey difficult to conduct because some respondents were uncomfortable with the exercise while others were deeply suspicious. One said, "I don't care much for the wording of your survey and believe it to be cynical attempt to spread more damaging propaganda about Muslims."

The one positive finding was that the majority of the community said that they did not harbour ill-will against the west and were concerned that the attitude of some were damaging Islam's reputation in the eyes of the world.

In Bradford which has a very large segment of Mirpuris most said that they felt they were all the time under watch by the police. The young there maintain that the community is rather incorrectly blamed for happenings round the world.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a message of goodwill to Muslims to mark Id. He said he was proud to be prime minister of a country of many faiths and cultures. But mosques were placed under increased police protection as most of the two million were to congregate to celebrate Id. The community leaders feared that right- wingers and racists could step up their attacks at mass gatherings.

In East London and Manchester there have been in the past clashes between the police and young Muslims who race cars in town centres during festivals.

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