BBC poll showed worrying ambivalence to Islamic violence

Morning View
Morning View

The BBC clearly chose the wrong news line to emphasise in its coverage of the Radio Four Today programme’s survey of British Muslims.

Some of the poll findings on Wednesday showed alarming levels of ambivalence among British Muslims towards fanatical Islam.

The poll found that 45 per cent of British Muslims disagree with the notion that Muslim clerics who justify violence are out of touch with mainstream Muslim opinion.

It is undoubtedly encouraging that 95 per cent of respondents felt loyalty to this country, the UK, with almost as many (93 per cent) saying British Muslims should obey British laws.

But the ComRes survey found that 11 per cent of British Muslims feel sympathy for those who want to fight the West.

This is a worryingly high statistic at a time when hundreds of young British citizens are flying to the Middle East to join deranged gangs such as Islamic State.

As an example of the BBC’s coverage, its Radio Four 7am report on Wednesday mentioned that 68 per cent of UK Muslims say acts of violence against those publishing images of the Prophet can never be justified. But that is the wrong way of looking at that finding. The real story in that statistic is that 24 per cent disagree with a statement that ought to be self-evident. It would be deeply disturbing if a quarter of British Christians believed that insulting Jesus justified violence.

A BBC news reporter who covered the story for the Today programme gave higher priority to the fact that just under half felt that Britain is becoming less tolerant of Muslims than to the fact that one in four showed ambivalence to attacks such as the Charlie Hebdo massacre which caused global outrage.

BBC online has since Wednesday led on the fact that most Muslims oppose reprisals for Mohammed cartoons.

The BBC in all of its reports should have led on the unacceptable levels of ambivalence towards violence.

It is not good enough for non Muslims to say Islam is a religion of peace. British Muslim leaders must demonstrate it is so.