An Islamist sympathising British ‘Muslim News’ website has published an “independent report” claiming to demonstrate “overwhelming consensus” among Muslim leaders regarding the tenets of their religion, as well as proving they are united in the view that their faith is in no need of reform, change or progress.
Amazingly, some sections of the media gave the 5Pillars “study” serious coverage.
Russia Today said the “landmark report” showed “high level of agreement between British Muslims on the basic principles of Islam and the way it should be followed”. The International Business Times said that, “almost all influential British Muslims consider the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, to be an illegitimate organization.” “Perhaps surprisingly, a consensus does exist” reports the Huffington Post.
The “independent report” was conducted by a marketing research firm paid to ask a pre-selected list of “Influential Muslims” a list of loaded questions. This is very, very different from the independent research conducted by genuine pollsters.
In the ‘Method’ section, it is bluntly conceded that the “names and contact details” of the anonymous “target sample” were “provided by” 5Pillars, who also “formulated” the questions they would be asked. So, they selected a small sample of just 150 Muslims and Islamists they happened to support and know, collated their views whilst keeping their identities secret, and then claimed they spoke for all 2.7 million Muslim in the country.
Predictably, 80 per cent of the sample was male, 91 per cent were Sunni, and 30 per cent were not British born.
One of the editors of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain, wrote that they “were confident that… the many influential leaders from among them would demonstrate a pattern of religious consensus”.“As expected, the results of the survey did not differ significantly from the Islam that had been agreed upon by early Muslims and inherited by successive generations,” said Haitham al-Haddad, a judge for the UK Islamic Sharia Council (who believes homosexuality is disease and ex-muslims should be killed) according to the International Business Times.
5Pillars editor Mr. Hussain has been very open about his Islamist sympathies and support of a theocratic Caliphate in the past, and is obsessed with attacking Muslim reformers and moderates such a Maajid Nawaz and Adam Deen of the Quilliam foundation and Sara Khan of the Muslim Women’s Network.
So, isn’t it convenient that his very own report appears to confirm that such reformers and moderates are not wanted or needed by British Muslims?
In his columns regarding the “study”, Mr. Hussain said that he hoped it would work to delegitimise “divisive labels” such as “moderates”, “liberals”, “reformists”, “conservatives”, “extremists” and “Islamists” in reference to Muslims.
He want’s to push the much repeated line that “Islam is perfect” and unchanging, and therefore moderates, dissenters and pro-western reformers are wasting their time, as well as help make the Islamists and hardliners appear acceptable.
The questions were quite clearly “formulated” because they were likely to answered favorably. “There is no compulsion in religion. No one can be forced to become a Muslim”, they put to respondents, to which 95 per cent agreed. Yet, they declined to ask how many thought those who leave Islam should be killed, which would almost certainly have produced more uncomfortable results.
They also asked about agreement with “Islamic law”, without defining punishments or crimes, and “the true Caliphate”, without meaningfully describing it – 39 per cent said agreed it was a “theocratic state”.
The “study” also found that 95 per cent regarded the Quran as the direct and unchanging word of god for “all humanity”; that 76 per cent believed Jihad was necessary; that six per cent would imply that the Islamic State (IS) terror group are “legitimate”; and that 76 per cent regarded the full face covering as “legitimate” also.
Make what you will of those statistics, but Mr. Hussain believes the “study” is an “insight to what influential British Muslims consider as the basic tenets of their faith”, which shows that “unlike the systematic reformation that Christianity underwent… Islam cannot be treated and understood in the same manner”.
Others, meanwhile, have pointed out that all the “study” really demonstrates is the ability of a small number of male Islamists to fool some in the media into helping them delegitimise the voices of pro-western, female and reformist British Muslims.