A new poll published by the BBC found that nearly one third of Muslims present in Britain supported the Muslims who murdered 12 people in an attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France.
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 Muslims over age 18, found that 27 percent said they have some sympathy for the Muslims who carried out the murderous attack in January. When asked if attacks on those who publish cartoons of Muhammad “can never be justified,” 24 percent of respondents disagreed. In other words, nearly a quarter of Muslims residing in Britain thought such attacks could be justified. Asked directly if publishers of offensive cartoons “deserved” to be attacked, 11 percent said yes. Another four percent refused to answer or said they didn’t know.
Twenty percent of respondents agreed that “western liberal society” is not compatible with Islam, while another seven percent said they didn’t know. Asked if they felt sympathy toward those who want to “fight against western interests,” 11 percent said yes. And asked if they knew any Muslims who were “strongly sympathetic” toward ISIS and al-Qaeda, eight percent said they did.
Some of the results seem to be at odds with other responses in the same poll. For instance, 95 percent of Muslim respondents said they felt loyal to Britain and 93 percent said Muslims should obey British law. Asked if they would call police on someone who they knew to be planning violence, 94 percent said yes.
The poll could have some resonance here in the United States where the President has repeatedly claimed ISIS has no connection to Islam. Specifically, Obama claimed last year during a scripted primetime address that the Islamic State was “un-Islamic.” More recently, at a summit on violent extremism, he refused to identify ISIS as Islamic, instead saying they are “terrorists” with no religious affiliation whatsoever. Obama also argued that the idea Islam was incompatible with western values was “a lie.”
They propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.
The results of the BBC poll demonstrate that even murderous acts of terror carried out by ISIS’ supporters (the Charlie Hebdo attacks) are not clearly rejected by Muslims in Britain. It also suggests there is already a large pool (20 percent) of Muslims who believe Islam is incompatible with western values.