Saturday, July 23, 2005

One in four Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists

This YouGov poll for the Telegraph looks scarier than the Sky News poll I mentioned yesterday. However, there are glimmers of hope. 70% of British Muslims would report suspicious activities in their communities to the police. That serves to counteract the other findings, some of which are rendered doubtful by the phrasing of the questions.

The Telegraph headlines that 25% of British Muslims "sympathise with the motives" of the terrorists. However, only 1% (translating to 16,000 individuals) are prepared to embrace violence themselves. 6% (96,000) believe the terrorists' actions were fully justified. Presumably they are among the 100,000 Muslims who feel no loyalty to Britain. Those people are our problem, not the 400,000 who sympathise with the London bombers motives.

Since we don't know what the dead terrorists' motives really were, there is room for interpretation. Many non-Muslim Brits want our troops out of Iraq. If the bombers wanted to force a troop withdrawal, then those non-Muslims "...sympathise with the motives...". Those many millions are not inclined to murder, so it's wrong to infer anything worse from the same views held by Muslims.

The most worrying aspect of all this is the fact that the rest of us know so little about our 1.7 million Muslim fellow-citizens. That's our fault and theirs. They arrived, lived, worked and raised families here in apparent isolation. Our much-vaunted multicultural society seems to involve cultures living in parallel, sharing physical but not ethical space. A multicultural society is possible, but a multi-ethical society is not.

The problem seems to be with values. Brits have them, but we are quiet about them; we are too timid about promoting them. For example, we believe women are free and equal. Many of our Muslims don't. As an opinion, that's to be respected, but when it's put into action it goes beyond a "lifestyle choice". Keeping women in subjection, still less (in the most extreme examples) killing them for dishonouring their families, is incompatible with being British. It's nothing to do with Islam. It's just cultural baggage imported from the primitive societies these immigrants left behind.

By "tolerating" mistreatment of women, we have not been kind or gentle. We have betrayed Muslim women and we have given entirely the wrong message. If immigrants had been challenged on this issue and others, they would have understood that becoming a British citizen required some changes in their thinking. Those who could not live with that would have stayed away or left. Those who could, would have integrated better.

We did not engage with our immigrants. We left it to the left-wingers in our education system, local authorities and social services to do so. They, let's face it, have made a complete hash of things. Everyone who got their job through a "Guardian" advertisement in the last 30 years shares the blame. France has many more Muslims, but theirs do not seem to be the poisonous threat to civilisation that 100,000 of ours have become. Maybe the much-criticised headscarves ban in French schools is just a small symptom of a more civilised approach?

Telegraph | News | One in four Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists

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