24% of British Muslims say violence against cartoonists who draw Muhammad is justifiable

Yes, British Muslims.
ComRes polled British Muslims on their feelings about discrimination, fealty for Britain, and their attitudes towards those who satirize Islam or Muhammed. Here is a summary of poll results, which the BBC seems to see as reassuring, but I beg to differ:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.03.49 AMHere’s the breakdown of the Charlie Hebdo question:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.01.27 AM

And the breakdown of the Muhammed violence question:

Asked if acts of violence against those who publish images of the Prophet Muhammad can “never be justified”, 68% agreed that such violence was never justifiable.

But 24% disagreed with the statement, while the rest replied “don’t know” or refused to answer.

The response to the final question, about Muslim clerics who preach violence, should give pause to those who decry critics of extremism as “Islamophobes”, and who assert that extremist jihadist Islam is not a “true” version of the faith.  While 49% of British Muslims say that their clerics who preach anti-Western violence are out of touch with mainstream Muslim opinion, almost as many—45%—say those clerics are not out of touch.  If nearly half of British Muslims see calls for such violence as a part of “mainstream Muslim opinion,” even if the respondents don’t agree with violence, who are Glenn Greenwald, Reza Aslan, and Karen Armstrong to say that violence against the West is “not true Islam”?

Below is the BBC’s headline for the story, which of course is technically true, but what about the 27% of British Muslims who have sympathy for the “motivations behind” the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the 24% who claim that sometimes violence against those who publish images of Muhammed is justifiable.  Isn’t that bigger news?

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.23.44 AM

Ah, the Beeb: ever soft on Islam.

h/t: Coel


  1. Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    That percentage eerily matches the percentage of wackaloons in the ‘murkin’ TEAbaggin’ movement.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      More reasonable headline:

      “Most British Muslims ‘oppose Muhammad Cartoon Reprisals’ But a Disturbing Number Believe Violence to Be Justified”

      OK, that’s a kind of a long headline.

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Oops didn’t mean for that to be a reply!

    • Delphin
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      What a high class argument.

  2. Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Indeed, the response to that last question is particularly illuminating. I would like to see people pull that figure out when discussing what Islamophobia really is and isn’t. It really is an intriguing questions as it can gauge what a particular group’s perceptions are of what is mainstream within that group, relatively free of confounding by outer group factors. Great information.

    • Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Another interesting bit of information from the survey: there is a significant difference in response across age groups to the question of whether respondents find published images of Mohammed deeply offensive personally. 82% of respondents aged 18-34 agreed, as did 76% aged 35-44, and 71% aged 45+. That difference between oldest and youngest is significant, with the odds of agreement nearly twice as high in the *younger* demographic.

      Interestingly too are the responses to if it is appropriate for Muslims who convert to other religions to be cut off by their families. 15% aged 18-34 agreed, as did 17% aged 35-44, and 21% aged 45+. Again, the difference between oldest and youngest is significant, but in the opposite direction. The odds of agreement are nearly twice as high in the *older* demographic.

      It may ultimately signify nothing (there don’t appear to be significant differences in opinion across ages to other questions, so these differences could be specious), but it may also signify a difference in what is important across ages, with older respondents more concerned about family and younger respondents about personal identity. That would make some psychological sense I think.

      • eric
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        That difference between oldest and youngest is significant, with the odds of agreement nearly twice as high in the *younger* demographic.

        That’s surprising on its face because you expect the younger folk to either be more assimilated or more liberal. But, when you think about it, it is (sadly) consistent with other commentary and data that seems to indicate young people in western countries today either don’t understand or are not strong supporters of free speech. It’s only really the subject of the speech that’s different: your stereotypic white christian kid at Brown university wants to punish anti-gay speech, while your stereotypic arab muslim UK student wants to punish anti-islam speech.

  3. TJR
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Those were almost exactly my thoughts on the results as well.

  4. NewEnglandBob
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    93% say they should obey British laws but 45% and condone preaching violence against the west.

    So are most of them confused or liars? I would guess both.

    • eric
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Its probably confusion; surveys can easily elicit contradictory answers depending on how you ask a question. The best, most comprehensive surveys ask the same question in many different ways to try and eliminate this.

      OTOH, it may not be. In the US you can certainly agree to obey the law with regard to speech and at the same time advocate something as nebulous as ‘violence against the west.’ Is that hypocritical? Somewhat, yes. Illegal? No. I’m not sure how the UK’s speech laws differ, but if it’s possible to obey the law and advocate this, then the respondents are not technically contradicting themselves.

    • KD33
      Posted March 1, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I’m glad you posted this comment as it makes a great example. By the letter of the question, the “disagree” crowd say that clerics perching violence against the wets are *not* at odds with mainstream Muslim opinion. That is not the same as the answerer condoning such violence. The question and related answers are still concerning, but I think we need to be very careful what conclusions we draw and statements we make based on surveys like this.

  5. Randy Schenck
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Whenever a quarter of the population are in the math, you have a large problem. And this is England. How about in any number of middle east countries?

    And while it is hopeful that all 24% are not likely to start cutting off heads and shooting, they don’t seem to mind at all. This is why you almost get sick every time the libs say, well there is 1.6 billion and only a few thousand terrorist. Yeah, sure.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:05 am | Permalink

      ” This is why you almost get sick every time the libs say, well there is 1.6 billion and only a few thousand terrorist. Yeah, sure.”

      Exactly. Nearly one in four British Muslims say violence may be justifiable. One in four!

  6. Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    (Typo – Reza Aslan near end!)

  7. Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The headline “less than half of UK muslims feel that preaching violence against the west is out of touch with mainstream islam” would have been an accurate headline as well.

    • Mike Paps
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink


  8. Jeff Rankin
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    So the Muslim population in England is about 2.7 million people — so that means that 630,000 some people favor violent reprisals for cartoon. Yikes.

    • Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Yikes indeed. Probably higher, as I am assuming they didn’t poll children…..

  9. Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    No aircraft would be allowed to leave the docking station with 27% damage.

    • Kevin
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      On the bright side, if only 27% of Americans favored gun ownership or the death penalty, then Americans would probably have neither…that would be progress.

  10. Scientifik
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    In other UK news:

    Police appeal for three London teenagers feared to have travelled to Syria to join Isis


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I thought it was confirmed they were already in Syria and now nothing could be done to get them back? Horrible situation. I’m sure they have all these romantic notions about serving the cause; the reality of what and who they’ll be serving will be very different.

      • Scientifik
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        It’s hard for me to believe that these teenage girls don’t know whom they’ll be serving “romantically”…

        • Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I can believe it. They’re teens, and idealists, and their handler is a (wo?)man of Allah who couldn’t possibly have anything as un-Islamic in mind for them as what they’re likely suffering this minute.


    • Diane G.
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:08 am | Permalink

      Why do I fear we’ll be seeing these girls beheaded next?

      • Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        They may well wish for death soon, but I predict years of sexual slavery instead.


        • Diane G.
          Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          Yes, a good bet.

      • Mike Paps
        Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Why do I fear we’ll be seeing these girls beheaded next?

        That would be terribly bad for business. I can almost guarantee they’ll soon be online recruiting, and telling other western teenage Muslims how wonderful things are there, and that they should ignore all the propaganda about them in the media.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          I suspect you’re right. I was just thinking of their penchant to hideously kill whomever the West would be most shocked by, via the most appalling method they can come up with.

  11. Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting which news sources have gone for which headline.

    Quoting mostly UK media, on the one hand we have:

    “Most British Muslims ‘oppose Muhammad cartoons reprisals'”

    Reuters UK:
    “Few UK Muslims have sympathy for Paris attack …”

    “Few UK Muslims have sympathy for Paris attack …”

    “Loyal UK Muslims Oppose Cartoons Reprisals”

    And then on the other hand:

    The Telegraph:
    “Over a quarter of British Muslims have sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists …”

    The Times:
    “Quarter of UK Muslims in sympathy with Paris attackers”

    The Independent:
    “One in four British Muslims ‘have some sympathy for motives behind Charlie Hebdo …”

    Jewish Chronicle:
    “27 per cent UK Muslims sympathise with motives of Charlie Hebdo killers”

    International Business Times UK:
    “Over a quarter of UK Muslims ‘sympathise’ with Charlie Hebdo massacre”

    “27% of Muslims ‘have sympathy’ for Hebdo killers’ motives”

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes, look on the bright side. If you are reading about it in the news you are still alive. That is the bright side instead of the left or right.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      It seems to be whether you see Islam as a danger or not.

      • Delphin
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        It really should be how newsworthy the number is. If the question were, how many set their hair on fire then 25% would be a headline-worthy number. It would be far off from what one expects, it would be news for being surprising. If 60% of voters wanted to abolish jury trials that would be newsworthy for being very consequential.

        • GBJames
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          To me it is noteworthy (headline-worthy) that one quarter of a very large subpopulation is opposed to one of the foundational principles of modern societies.

          • Delphin
            Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            I agree completely. And if the poll were of Jews, Scotsmen, or Rotarians, it would be presented that way. So we can safely infer the Beeb is whitewashing.

          • eric
            Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            The 24% who think violence is sometimes warranted are indeed opposed to one of our foundational principles. A very big one, in fact. The 27% who express sympathy for the CH attackers are being nasty bigots but given that one of western society’s foundational principles is freedom of expression/no thought crimes, I don’t think they can be considered opposed to etc. Its bloodthirsty and nasty to claim some innocent victim deserved it, but we get people in the US doing that all the time and we don’t claim they are opposing our foundational principles.

            Not as nasty or foundational (as non-violent resolution of disputes) perhaps, but:
            -55% of US kids think its appropriate for the school to censor their newspapers
            -56% think its appropriate for schools to ban books and newspapers.
            Link. That is, IMO, also being opposed to one of the foundational principles of modern society. Its good that Jerry and others have tried to make headlines out of this sort of opposition too, but our mainstream media treats it almost as a nonissue.

            • GBJames
              Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

              You seem to be confusing two different things. One is the legal right to express repugnant thoughts. The other is whether large numbers of people with repugnant thoughts is a problem. Not the same.

              To claim that “we” don’t say that advocates of such positions are opposing our foundational principles here in the US is simply false, eric. “We” do it all the time. Take, for example, what “we” say about the ambitions of Dominionist theocrats, most of whom are in the Repbublican Party. They get no quarter from a great many of “us”.

          • Diane G.
            Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:10 am | Permalink


        • GBJames
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          *Opposed to the point of advocating violence.*

  12. Jacob
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Has there been any polling that includes a “control” group of non-Muslims on the same questions? I know that it’s not zero percent who would say that Charlie Hebdo deserved to be attacked. It would be an interesting comparison…

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      good point! Accomadationists like Karen Armstrong, for one.

      • Jacob
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I know she is gung-ho on apologizing for Islam, but where has she ever expressed the sentiment that Hebdo deserved to be attacked? I thought her position on it was the standard, “this has nothing to do with Islam” nonsense.

        • $G
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think she personally ever did – I think NewEnglandBob is referring to the “Yes, But” crowd.

          As in,

          “Yes killing is wrong, BUT the victims weren’t exactly nice people…”

          Also known as: victim blaming (see also: rape or police brutality apologists)

        • rickflick
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Maybe not Armstrong, but how about the pope?

          • Phil Giordana FCD
            Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:31 am | Permalink

            Or PZ Myers?

    • EvolvedDutchie
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I would like to add that the control group should be split into religious categories.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:11 am | Permalink

        And include secular humanists!

  13. Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    What I’d like to see is a comparison with other political/religious groups on the same question. Given the Pope’s opinion on the matter, there might be a shocking percentage among Catholics and if our own far left liberal base is to be considered, what percentage would we see there. 27% and 24% are disconcerting percentages to be sure, but without comparing the attitudes of other groups to the same question, we may simply be looking at these numbers through a tinted lens.

    Another question that should have been asked is, “Would YOU commit an act of violence against the satire of a beloved prophet, whether Jesus or Muhammad?”

    This study seems to be lacking a control in order to determine the unique viewpoints of the Muslim subset of the British population.

    Now, I’m not exercising Islamic apologetics here, I’d just like the results to be a fair accounting before allowing my biases to control my perception of these polls.

    • Jacob
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Of course, if other groups showed similar results as you speculated, that would only mean there is more to worry about. It would not excuse or soften the findings here (which seems quite consistent with other polling work done by Pew, Gallup, etc.)

    • Filippo
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Anyone know if there any prior surveys of British Muslims asking what pct. favor death as the penalty for apostasy? Do Armstrong and her ilk hold that such a penalty is not “true” (or “not about”) Islam?

  14. Posted February 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    When a quarter of a given self-identified population thinks the sword is the proper foil to the pen, I think a fair amount of fear is justified when encountering somebody who so identifies.

    Walk into a mosque of an hundred people at prayer, and a couple dozen of them would, according to this survey, be happy to slit your throat if you were wearing a Jesus & Mo T-shirt. Maybe fear of the law would prevent them from doing it, sure. But how is that supposed to prevent you from fearing them?


    • eric
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Why are you preferencing that question over the others? IOW, why assume the “24% think violence is sometimes warranted” number is the important one when the exact same survey gave you “93% think they should always obey the law.”

      I’m not saying the latter should be controlling of your opinion instead. They should both be given approximately equal weight, IMO. But it seems to me that using the 24% question and not the 93% one looks a lot like confirmation bias.

      • Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        For one, for many Muslims, “the law” means, “Sharia.”

        For another…if somebody espouses some vague platitude about obeying the law but also says they’re down with the murder of cartoonists…well, really, how can you take seriously any sort of mouthing about law and order?


        • eric
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          They both seem to be vague platitudes to me, but their support of violence seems more platitudinish. Sure, the response to lawfulness may be bluster. The response to violence acceptance may be bluster. When I look at the per capita crime rate, the latter seems to be a lot more bluster and less sincere than the former.

          • Posted February 25, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            No, the no of Muslims in UK prisons is about 3 times higher than it should be. And in youth detention centres, i in 5 is Muslim

            • Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

              To be fair, it can be quite dangerous to draw conclusions from prison population statistics. In the States, in particular, all races sell and use illegal drugs in basically the same proportions, though there tend to be some racial preferences for which drugs are used. But Americans in prison for drug charges are overwhelmingly Black.

              To draw such a conclusion, you first have to factor in selective enforcement and prosecution and conviction.


              • Phil Giordana FCD
                Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:36 am | Permalink

                Was gonna say. There is the same argument here in France that the majority of the prison population is comprised of blacks and arabs. This does not take into account the strong police/justice bias against those minorities when it comes to arrests and prosecutions.

      • GBJames
        Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Which of the following questions focuses your mind, eric?

        “That dog running towards you likes to bite legs.”

        “That dog running towards you likes treats.”

        Both might be true, but one deserves “preferencing”, no?

        • eric
          Posted February 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          If I have no evidence of the dog’s conduct? The bite one of course.

          But we do have evidence of UK muslim conduct. AFAIK their per capita lawlessness is no different from the per capita lawlessness of non-muslims. So in this case I have evidence that there is about a 1 in 10,000 chance the dog in front of me likes to bite legs, and evidence that there’s a near 100% chance they actually like treats. Sso I’m going with preferencing the treat one.

          Look, let me phrase it another way. Let’s say you want to collect facts on the ground about how much muslims actually follow what they say they believe in these surveys. You want to determine how much of those poll answer represent actual conduct vs. bluster/insincere platitudes. You want to get ground truth about that 93% who say they obey the law and that 24% who say they think violence is justified. What data would you collect?
          Statistical data on how many muslims actually commit crimes and the types of crimes they commit, right? So…we have that data. If it doesn’ agree with your preconceived notion, which are you going to go with – the data, or your preconception?

          • GBJames
            Posted February 25, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            Yes. The conduct of UK Muslims is absolutely identical to that of other UK citizens.

            No difference at all.

            Get a grip.

            • Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

              Well, if you actually read the article beneath the grammar-free headline, it turns out that the numbers are in dispute.

              The larger question seems to me to be this: are we in favor of racial or religious profiling, or aren’t we? Because that’s really what we’re talking about here. I fail to see how this type of thinking is any different from assuming that a random black man walking down the street needs to be stopped and frisked.

              • Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

                I’d be in favor of ideological profiling, of which religious profiling is a subset.

                I don’t think we need worry much about some random Unitarian Universalist as a potential suspect in a cross burning incident, but if you don’t put the Klansman on your short list, you’re an idiot.

                It would be unwise to dismiss out of hand somebody simply because visual appearances are consistent with profession of a non-violent ideology. For example, the Amish shouldn’t be automatically waved through just because of their dress.

                But it would be wise to devote additional attention to those who self-identify as a member of an organization known to favor violence. That skinhead dressed in an SS uniform (and not part of a movie cast or whatever)? Keep an extra eye on him.

                Same thing with the Muslim whose every third utterance is the battle cry, “Allahu Akbar!”



              • GBJames
                Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

                No, that’s not the larger question, stevesherman161. The larger question is whether we are willing to acknowledge the obvious and accept that Islamic extremism has something to do with Islam or whether we’re interested in pretending otherwise. I don’t recall anyone on this page advocating racial profiling, which in the most generous of interpretations is hopelessly irrelevant.

                As Ben mentions, ideological profiling makes sense since Islamic extremism is an ideology. But that would require a degree of realism that seems difficult for many of us liberals to accept. Many of us have difficulty distinguishing people who vocally advocate for religious violence from random black men walking down the street.

    • jeremyp
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      A quarter of the respondents this survey did not say the sword is the proper foil for the pen. They disagreed that there can never be circumstances in which violence against Prophet drawers is unacceptable.

      They might not even be able to think of any such circumstances but disagreed because never is a long time and who knows what might happen in the future.

      Perhaps they were thinking of the situation in which you walked into a mosque wearing a Jesus & Mo T-shirt and refused to leave when asked. They probably think they would be justified in manhandling you out of the door, which is technically violence.

      • Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        That’s a most generous interpretation.

        Too generous by far, in fact.

        It’s too-painfully clear from context that the violence in question isn’t the firm hand of a bouncer evicting somebody who’s outstayed his welcome…but rather full-on terrorism.

        Charlie Hebdo…Danish cartoons…need I really continue?


  15. wetherjeff
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The stat that gets me is that 11% have sympathy with those who fight against western interests. That’s over 200,000 individuals. These are people who are happy to accept the benefits of living in the UK – a generous welfare system, free healthcare, democracy, free speech etc, while also supporting its destruction. The mind boggles…..

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:34 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed.

    • Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      “Western interests” is vague – there’s the interest of current governments in drone strikes, renditions, supporting dictatorships, etc, and the interest of the people at large, which is none of those.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        ‘“Western interests” is vague . . . .’

        This prompted me to retrieve from a stack a slick U.S. Navy Reserve recruiting brochure. Opening it, at the top in block letters:



        “Every day, all over the globe,

        (some space)

        Sailors are working to protect America’s interests.”

        I was in the USN in the 80’s, and have seen my share of recruiting materials, which employed more or less the “mom and apple pie” approach. This is the first time I’ve seen the use of “interests.” Is any and every Amuricun “interest” worthy of one going in harm’s way, possibly to be killed or maimed for life?

        • Posted February 27, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

          Even the way you quoted it, the brochure does not say that every American interest is worth fighting for.
          Certain interests are. What they are is debatable, but I think that most people would agree that some justify the costs involved in fighting.

          I don’t think that those who made the poll and those who answered it referred to things like drone attacks in “Western Interests”.

  16. Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Imagine the same sort of “positive reporting” about other disasters:

    “Most South Africans are free of AIDS.”
    “Most planes land safely.”
    “Most Ukrainian land is still Ukrainian.”

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      Four percent of those infected survive ebola!

  17. Andrew Zak Williams
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I was listening to BBC Radio 4 this morning. The way they announced the poll results was to say that a poll showed that 68 per cent of Muslims opposed violence against the cartoonists. I was outraged at that way of presenting the story. Needless to say, any public figure who comments about the significant minority of Muslims supporting such acts is liable to be labelled in the usual predictable ways.

    • Griff
      Posted February 25, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I thought exactly the same thing while listening to Today. They more than once said “two thirds were against violence”. I kept thinking “What about the other third? Isn’t that the real story?”

    • Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Political correctness sets the bar so low for Muslims, that a 2/3 rate of opposition to violence is supposed to positively impress us.
      This is just sad.

  18. Scientifik
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Pope Francis’ “words of wisdom” about free speech didn’t fall on deaf ears. Notice the signs those Muslims are carrying…


  19. Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    To be honest, when I saw the title of this post, I felt some “I told you” pleasure (well, I didn’t tell YOU, but I keep telling my friends that support of violence is not marginal among Muslims). However, this poll does not necessarily prove me right, mostly because the questions are not direct enough.
    For example, those who replied that the clerics are not out of touch to the last question, don’t necessarily support violence against the west, but may just believe that this is a mainstream view among Muslims. Similarly, “some sympathy” may represent understanding and not support (I hope this distinction makes sense in English).
    Personally, I believe that a significant part of the Muslim population in the West supports violence. It’s just that this poll doesn’t show it and everybody can take from it whatever they want.

  20. Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Wow, Those muslims are just like christians, some are more wacko than others. Fortunately though, very few atheists are that wacko. Now if more of us could just get elected to public office we could get on with making the world a better place for everybody, even religious nut cases.

  21. Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    68% of atheists said they were opposed to violence against Muslims.

    And so did the other 32%

    But atheists oppose violence against Muslims is hardly news, and so is unlikely to be reported by the BBC.

  22. Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    BBC headline
    A BBC poll suggests that an overwhelming majority of British Muslims oppose the use of violence against people publishing images of the Prophet Muhammad.

    Since when was 68% overwhelming?

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Question: Organisations which publish images of the Prophet Mohammad deserve to be attacked?

      85% disagreed.

      Table 14 shows how the precise wording of similar sounding questions can have significant a effect on the response.

      • Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:30 am | Permalink

        So 15% of British Muslims think such organisations deserve to be attacked?

        That is a very high, disturbing figure.

        If 15% of Scientologists thought enemies of Scientology deserve to be attacked the way Charlie Hebdo was attacked, every Scientology Church in Britain would be raided by police and closed down.

        • Leigh Jackson
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          It is a very disturbing figure. It is also true that a significant majority are opposed to violence.

          That fact should be recognised – not dismissed.

          What the results show, overall, is just how sensitive an issue the depiction of Muhammad is for Muslims. The results suggest that one group of Muslims can accept some depictions, even though they find them personally insulting, but some depictions are beyond the pale for them – deserving of a violent reaction.

          The study is a valuable one for showing the strength and gradations of feelings amongst Muslims.

          Extreme violence in the name of animal rights has been recorded as having the suppport of 8% of the public. IRA violence was well supported, I believe, though I don’t know if this was ever quantified.

          Closing down every mosque in the UK would dramtatically increase the level of violence, I believe. The incarceration of suspected Islamist terrorists without public examination of the evidence, I also believe, increased support for terrorism.

          • GBJames
            Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Did someone advocate closing every mosque in the UK?

            • Leigh Jackson
              Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

              I’m not exactly sure.

              • GBJames
                Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

                Perhaps you imagined it.

              • Leigh Jackson
                Posted February 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                Perhaps Steven will make his meaning clear.
                What is your own view, by the way?

              • GBJames
                Posted February 27, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

                My view is that Steven was pointing to disproportionate respect that is offered to Islam in the UK. In my view his point is correct. It isn’t a demand for closing every mosque in the UK.

              • Leigh Jackson
                Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

                Assuming that is his point,it is hyperbolical. The police would do no such thing in the case of any religion. Rather, it is Steven who is here being disproportional. To justify the proposition of disproportionate respect for Islam some other example is necessary.

                It’s also possible that you may have imagined Steven’s meaning.

              • Posted February 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

                The German government did indeed once try to ban Scientology because of the actions of some Scientologists.

                Boy, they must have done some bad things.

                Perhaps they shot some cartoonists and policemen.

                I think the German government established a precendent. Break the law and expect your religion to be regarded with suspicion.

                Except if your religion is Islam.

              • Mike Paps
                Posted February 28, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

                For what it’s worth I didn’t originally read that as him actually suggesting mosques should be closed down.

              • Leigh Jackson
                Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

                We are discussing British Muslims. We are therefore talking about British law and policing. It’s true that British justice was compromised by Parliament by sanctioning the imprisonment of Muslims without trial by jury, but attempting to shut down the practice of any bona fide religion – and scientology was recently judicially declared to be such – is not going to happen in the UK. As was the case of imprisonemnt without trial by jury, it would fall foul of the European Charter of Human Rights.

                I repeat: the fact that the majority of British Muslims opposed the violence against Charlie Hebdo should not be dismissed. The size of the minority who support violence is a serious concern, but the fact is that they are a minority – for the moment at least.

                I want Government actions to reduce that minority, not to increase it.

  23. Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    If 15% of British Scientologists said violence was justified, every Scientology Church in Britain would be closed overnight, after police had raided it.

  24. Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out more of their methodology. Is this a random polling or not? (I just saw an Angus-Reid one about Canada’s odious C-51 bill that seemed not to be.)

  25. Leigh Jackson
    Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:26 am | Permalink


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  1. […] narrative exists in the first place). Just today, a poll was released showing that “64% of British Muslims say violence against cartoonists who draw Muhammad is justifiable“. (Incidentally, when Wright argues  that the most effective tactic against extremism would […]

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