Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh, Those Crazy Muslims

It's a widely held belief that Muslims are a bloodthirsty lot, advocating violence and soft on terror. London, so the thinking goes, is haven to a particularly virulent strain. Finsbury Park, Richard Reid, Moussaoui, the 7/7 bombers.

The Times of London has conducted a poll of Muslim Britain's attitudes toward terrorism and the 7/7 attacks for the anniversary of that bloody day, and the results can fairly be characterized as encouraging.

13% think that the four men who carried out the London Tube and bus bombings should be regarded as "martyrs" (while, oddly, only 7% feel that suicide attacks on civilians in the UK can be justified), a fairly high number, but it means that 87% (or 93%, depending on how you're counting) do not.

(For sake of comparison in the realm of insanity, nearly half of New York City residents believe that U.S. leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act," and 42% of Americans in general think the government and the 9/11 Commission "concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence.")

Only 2% of British Muslims would be proud if a family member decided to join al-Qaeda. Compare that to the 35% who say that they would feel proud if a close family member joined the police.

Quite tellingly, 56% of British Muslims believe that the Government is not doing enough to fight extremism, compared to only 49% of the British population at large.

All in all, the poll presents just the picture one might hope for from a Western Muslim population: moderation. Common sense tells us that the acts of a few dedicated crazies can speak quite powerfully against the majority. When it comes to public perceptions of Muslims, however, common sense so often goes out the window.

(I first read about this poll on the fine CJSD blog.)
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