Populus’s standard monthly poll on voting intentions is not until next week, but today’s Times carries a separate Populus survey of British Muslims. As with previus polls of British Muslims, the survey suggests that the majority of British Muslims are opposed to terrorism and supportive of government efforts to fight extremism (though, as noted in the ICM poll last week, with some question marks over specifics), but a small minority sympathise with the terrorists.
13% of British Muslims questioned said the 7th July suicide bombers should be regarded as “martyrs”, 7% agree that suicide attacks on civilians in the UK can be justified in some circumstances, 16% of British Muslims say that while the attacks on London may have been wrong, the cause was right – although given that half of respondents thought that the main cause of the bombings was British involvement in Iraq, the cause in this context may be opposition to the Iraq war rather than whatever wider aims motivate Al Q’aeda.
Probably the most extreme question on the survey found that 2% of respondents would be proud if a family member decided to join Al Q’aeda and 16% would be “indifferent”.
A large majority (79%) of British Muslims believe that their community has experienced increased hostility since the July bombings and 74% feel that Muslims are viewed with suspicion by other people. 49% of Muslims say they are offended by the way that some people feel anxious when they see someone who looks Muslim on public transport carrying a backpack…but 18% of British Muslims say that they’d feel anxious themselves.
56% of British Muslims told Populus that the Government was not doing enough to fight extremism – this compares to only 49% of the British population as a whole, suggesting that while there are a minority of British Muslims who support terrorism, overall British Muslims are more supportive of government action to fight extremism than the wider population are. 50% of Muslims thought the intelligence services have the right to infiltrate Muslim organisations to gather information about their activities and the way they obtain funding and 65% say that their community needs to do more to integrate properly with British society. 35% say that they would feel proud if a close family member joined the police.
Finally, looking to the future 49% of British Muslims believe that further suicide bombings in the UK are likely – this is noticably lower than the British population as a whole, 78% of whom expect further attacks.