Q Society president Debbie Robinson with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer
The Q Society is a small but vicious organisation, aligned with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s Stop Islamization of Nations, that has dedicated itself to convincing Australia’s non-Muslim population that Islam represents a threat to their country.
The group’s latest stunt has been to commission an opinion poll which is designed to show that a majority of Australians hold a negative view of Islam and those who practise it. The Q Society then issued a press release giving a misleading summary of the poll results that has been uncritically repeated by some mainstream media outlets. ABC News has reported: “The poll included questions asking participants’ opinion about statements such as: ‘Australia is becoming a better place as a result of Islam’ to which 70 per cent responded ‘no’.”
An examination of the full results of the poll, which can found on the Q Society website, shows what a fraudulent exercise this is.
The very first question was: “It has been suggested that Christmas, Easter and ANZAC Day should no longer be celebrated in Australia as they may offend those who are from other cultures and religions. Do you agree or disagree with this view?”
This is the usual “Christmas is banned, it offends Muslims” nonsense. While there has been some questioning of how the militaristic displays on ANZAC Day impact on a multicultural Australia, that is different from demanding its abolition, and there is virtually nobody arguing that Christmas or Easter should be cancelled on the grounds that Muslims and other minorities may find them offensive.
The purpose of the question was clearly to plant in respondents’ minds the idea that Muslims represent a danger to Australian cultural traditions. Having done that, the questionnaire then proceeded to ask respondents about their attitudes towards Islam.
It is true that 70.6% of respondents disagreed with the proposition that “Australia is becoming a better place as a result of Islam”. But that didn’t necessarily show that a majority of Australians thought it was becoming a worse place, as the Q Society seeks to suggest.
Another question asked was: “In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Australians who follow Islam or who immigrated from an Islamic country. In general, do you feel that this is good for Australia or bad for Australia?” The number of respondents who thought an increase in the Muslim population is bad for Australia (38.4%) was in fact less than those who thought it is good (40.8%), with the remaining 20.8% not expressing a view either way. The Q Society press release ignores these figures.
With regard to a question on the relationship between Islam and terrorist acts, the press release states that “only 15 per cent of Australians think Islam and terrorism are not related”. But it fails to note that another 34.2% thought the relationship between Islam and terrorism is only “weak and indirect”. 44.0% of respondents did think there is a “strong, direct relationship” between Islam and terrorism, which of course is what the Q Society and its co-thinkers in the “counterjihad” movement consistently argue. But 49.3% of respondents rejected that view.
Now, this is not to deny the existence of significant prejudice against Islam in Australia. Even allowing for the effect of the opening question, it is worrying that there was 44% support for the view that there is a close relationship between Islam and terrorism. It is also disturbing that 53.4% of respondents thought the “Islamic burqa” should be banned, with 42.6% opposed, and that 50.2% agreed with the proposal that the Australian government should “ban Sharia – the religious law of Islam”, with only 36.2% disagreeing.
What the poll failed to do, though, was establish that a majority of non-Muslim Australians share the paranoid fantasies promoted by the Q Society about the threat posed by Islam to western civilisation. So the Q Society decided to feed the media a distorted account of the poll results.
Debbie Robinson at the New York SION conference with Kevin Carroll of the EDL and Robert Spencer