‘1 in 10 British Muslims won’t shop a terrorist’

“Tens of thousands of British Muslims would NOT shop someone they believed took part in a terror attack. A shock News of the World poll today reveals almost ONE IN TEN would not tell the police if they suspected a fellow Muslim was involved in an atrocity. With a million Muslims over 16 in Britain, it suggests a staggering 90,000 would turn a blind eye. And the figure is even worse among Muslims aged between 16 and 24, with 15 per cent saying they would not tell. Our poll also shows six per cent – or 60,000 Muslims – think attacks like the July 7 bombings are justified.”

News of the World, 24 September 2006

See also Press Association, 24 September 2006

But whenever opinion polls “reveal” relatively high levels of support among British Muslims for the 7/7 bombings, it invariably turns out that ambiguous questions have been asked. In this case, the question is “Do you think attacks by British suicide bombers on British targets are justified or unjustified?” As the 7/7 bombings had a justification – British foreign policy – this inevitably boosts the figures. When Muslim respondents are asked a direct question about whether they agree with the 7/7 attacks, the number who say they do is around one per cent. (See for example here.)

And the fact that 9% of respondents said they wouldn’t report a fellow Muslim they merely suspected of terrorist activity to the police or intelligence services is itself hardly reflective of support for, or neutrality towards, terrorism. The obvious explanation is that, after the Menezes and Forest Gate shootings, many people (and not just Muslims) would fear that terrorist “suspects” might simply be gunned down without any further inquiry. Indeed, what is surprising about the News of the World poll is that, given the police’s record of shooting innocent people, as many as 87% of Muslims would still report someone they suspected of involvement in terrorism to the authorities.