BBC Poll: 27 Percent of British Muslims Sympathize with 'Charlie Hebdo' Shooters

Guy Benson
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Posted: Feb 25, 2015 7:06 PM
BBC Poll: 27 Percent of British Muslims Sympathize with 'Charlie Hebdo' Shooters

This seems like a solid enough news hook to revisit a theme I addressed shortly after the Paris attacks, when the Obama administration's 'radical-Islamist-violence-has-nothing-to-do-with-Islam' rhetoric was in full throat.  Via The Telegraph:

One in four British Muslims sympathise with terrorists behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks, a new poll shows. A poll reveals how a significant minority of Muslims endorse terrorist atrocities against those who mock the Prophet Mohammed. Some 27 per cent of British Muslims said they have "some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks" on the Paris magazine, according to polling by ComRes for the BBC. A further 32 per cent said they were not surprised by the attacks. Some 11 per cent said that magazines which publish images of the Prophet Mohammed "deserve to be attacked." And only 68 per cent of British Muslims said that attacks on the publishers of images of the Prophet are "never" justified, while 24 disagreed.

The BBC poll also found that 95 percent of Muslims polled express loyalty to Britain, with 93 percent agreeing that British laws must be obeyed.  I'm...not quite sure how to square those numbers with other survey findings -- like the one-in-five British Muslims who believe Islam is incompatible with Western society, the worrisome degree of sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists, and the 11 percent faction that proactively supports attacks on "those who slander the prophet of Islam" (the ultimate discussion-enders).  It would appear as though a sizable chunk of British Muslims think they can applaud, or at least relate to, stone-cold Islamist killers while also being perfectly loyal Britons.  Hmm.  According to census data, roughly 2.8 million Muslims live in the UK, so if you extrapolate the numbers, approximately 750,000 British Muslims fall into the "sympathetic" category.  More than 300,000 are in the ghoulish "attaboy" camp.  By the way, the BBC's headline on its own poll highlights the fact that most respondents "oppose Mohammad cartoon reprisals."  That's certainly welcome news, but it buries the lead.  Relatedly, when hundreds of mourners turned out to pay respects to the dead jihadi who shot up a free speech event in Copenhagen last week, Allahpundit made an incisive point about often-ignored, uncomfortable gray areas within our lexical tug-of-war over Islam and extremism:

To say that most Muslims are peaceful is true but also simplistic. There’s el-Hussein, the killer; there’s the people who stayed away from his funeral today in contempt (the Danish Islamic Burial Fund objected to el-Hussein’s burial in their cemetery); and then there’s that “circle of acquaintances,” numbering well into the hundreds, who haven’t picked up a gun themselves but for whatever reason feel sufficiently comfortable with what this degenerate did that they’ll show up in full view of news cameras to pay their respects. Obama has no problem denouncing the first group — every population has its nuts and fanatics — and no problem praising the second, but you rarely hear him talk at length about the third.

What are we to make of this third group?  Do they count as peaceable?  Radical?  One thing's for sure: They'd absolutely reject the fashionable, blithe pronouncements that they don't count as true Muslims -- as would the ISIS savages, for that matter.  I understand that Western leaders must walk something of a tightrope in distinguishing between radical Islamists and the peaceful majority of worldwide Muslims.  "We are not at war with Islam" is an important truth that must be reiterated often; Al Qaeda and ISIS recruitment propaganda makes the opposite claim for a reason.  But responsible push-back crosses into counter-productive territory when the official line bears no resemblance to reality.  Virtually nobody -- not Americans, not the terrorists, nobody -- actually believes that Islamic extremism is totally divorced from Islam. Mule-headedly peddling that fiction therefore comes across not as nuanced tolerance, but as morally-confused and dangerously naive weakness.  Western leaders should spend less time mouthing feel-goodery, and more time offering strong support for the brave and critically important efforts of Egypt's president:


While our president assures us that the jihadi cancer has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, al-Sisi is calling for an intra-Islam "revolution" to reject and defeat the jihadi cancer within its ranks. The disconnect is striking. Parting thought: How would Western politically-correct apology brigades categorize the views of this Norwegian cleric and his congregation?


"Every now and then, every time we have a conference, every time we invite a speaker, they [the media] always come with the same accusations: This speaker supports the death penalty for homosexuals, this speaker supports the death penalty for this crime or this crime or that he is homophobic, that he subjugates women, etcetera,” said Qureshi in a video posted by the Middle East Memory Research Institute (MEMRI). "We always try to tell them,” he continued, “I always try to tell them that it is not that speaker that we are inviting who has these 'extreme radical views,' as you say. These are general views that every Muslim actually has...Every Muslim believes in these things,” said Qureshi...

Who is better equipped to discuss and decide who qualifies as a 'genuine' Muslim: Mr. Qureshi, or Josh Earnest?

Editor's note: A version of this item is cross-posted at HotAir.com