YouGov’s poll for the Sunday Times also addresses the row over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by a Danish newspaper, the subsequent protests and wider questions of the fight against terrorism.

56% of respondents told YouGov that it was right the cartoons were published “in the interest of freedom of speech”, while 29% think they shouldn’t have been. The overwhelming majority (86%) of people think that “in many cases” the worldwide Muslim response to the publication has been a gross over-reaction. 76% of respondents thought that extremist Muslims carrying banners glorifying terrorism and threatening violence in the protests against the cartoons in London last week should have been arrested on the scene.

Taking a wider view the public seem to have little confidence in the authorities will to deal with Islamic extremism in the UK. 80% said they though that “In general, British police and politicians are too tolerant of Muslims in Britain urging extreme acts” and 67% though that senior police officers like Sir Ian Blair were too politically correct to deal properly with extremists.

The opinion that the authorities are being too tolerant though doesn’t seem to extend to a blanket backing of the government’s anti-terror legislation. Asked about the defeated 90-day detention period in the terror bill, 44% of people said that the 90-period would have been right, but 42% of people are happy with the 28-day compromise.

In the short term respondents seem to have a very pesimistic view of the future – 67% think tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK will worsen in the next few years, and 87% think it is very or fairly likely there will be another attack on the scale of the London bombings in the UK. Things are little brighter looking at the longer term global situation – only 34% of people think the West can ever co-exist peacefully with the Islamic world, 45% think we will never do so.


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