The London transport bombings of July 2005 prompted no less than eight surveys of Muslim opinion in the United Kingdom within the year. When added to two surveys from 2004, they provide in the aggregate a unique insight into the thinking of the nearly 2 million Muslims in “Londonistan.” The hostile mentality they portray is especially alarming when one recalls that London’s police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, recently said that the threat of terrorism “is very grim” because there are, “as we speak, people in the United Kingdom planning further atrocities.”
The 7/7 attacks: About one in twenty British Muslims has voiced overt sympathy for the bombings a year ago. Separate polls find that between 2 and 6 percent endorse the attacks, 4 percent refuse to condemn them, 5 percent believe the Koran justifies them, and 6 percent say that the suicide bombers were acting in accord with the principles of Islam.
Without endorsing the attacks, far larger numbers show an understanding for them: 13 percent say the 7/7 suicide bombers should be regarded as “martyrs,” 16 percent say the attacks were wrong but the cause was right, while 20 percent feel sympathy for the “feelings and motives” of the attackers. A whopping 56 percent can see “why some people behave in that way.”
Help the police? A worrisome number of Muslims would not help the police if they suspected a fellow Muslim was planning a terrorist attack, ranging in different surveys from 5 to 14 to 18 percent.
Muslim or British: Polling indicates that a majority of Muslims perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities. Two polls agree that only a small proportion identifies itself first as a British (7 and 12 percent) but they differ widely on the number who identify first with their religion (81 and 46 percent).
Implementing Islamic law: Muslims widely agree that the Shari‘a (Islamic law) should reign in Britain. Forty percent approve of the Shari‘a being applied in predominantly Muslim areas and 61 percent want Shari‘a courts to settle civil cases among Muslims. All of 58 percent want those who criticize or insult Islam to face criminal prosecution. Schools should be prohibited from banning female pupils from wearing the hijab (headscarf), says 55 percent, while 88 percent insist that schools and workplaces should accommodate Muslim prayer times.
In sum, over half of British Muslims want Islamic law and 5 percent endorse violence to achieve that end. These results demonstrate that Britain’s potential terrorists live in a highly nurturing community.