1990 Trust survey challenges UK spy chief’s claim

The findings of a new survey conducted by The 1990 Trust, are countering new claims linking sizeable Muslim support for terrorism in a hard-hitting public speech Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Head of MI5 made yesterday.

The survey, ‘Muslim views: Foreign policy and its effects’ (sample: 1,213) carried out across the Muslim community in October concludes that there is almost no support for terrorism amongst the Muslim community with just 1% of those surveyed supporting the 7/7 London bombings.

THE REPORT CAN BE VIEWED BY LOGGING ONTO: www.blink.org.uk or clicking http://www.blink.org.uk/docs/muslim_survey_report_screen.pdf

The report directly questions Dame Manningham-Buller’s comments claiming that,”If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July bomb attacks in London were justified,” which the Daily Express reported as “widespread sympathy for terrorism within Britain”.

The 1990 Trust found that surveys by respected pollsters such as ICM and YouGov are showing artificially high rates of support for extremism due to the way questions are asked, which are taken and spun by the media, and believe their new survey more accurately reflects the real views of Muslims.Dame Manningham-Buller’s speech was short on “radicalisation” and the impact of UK’s foreign policy on disaffection within the Muslim community. Key points in the survey show:

a. 91% of Muslims in Britain disagree with the UK’s foreign policy.
b. 82% of Muslims have become more radicalised in recent times but in the form of attending demonstrations, writing to their MPs etc (46%).
c. Less than 1% of Muslims say they obtain information on the Middle East from mosques and clerics.

The opinions held mirror attitudes in the wider society.

The speech which has grabbed today’s headlines – ‘1600 young British Muslims under MI5 surveillance for plotting terror’ (Daily Mail), ‘Terrorists are recruiting in our schools, says MI5 boss’ (Daily Telegraph), ‘EVERY Briton is now a target for terrorists whatever their faith or race’ (The Sun) – threatens to further stoke hostility towards Muslims who have seen an increase in verbal and physical abuse in recent months.(See Muslim News or Islamic Human Rights Commission).

The speech, cleared by John Reid, follows on from Margaret Beckett’s comments instructing British Muslims to “stand up and be counted”, and are seen as softening up the public in advance of new security measures expected to by announced in the Queens Speech on Wednesday.

Karen Chouhan of the 1990 Trust said:

“This is nothing short of irresponsible politicking and journalism which is designed to create a moral panic to pave the way for renewed legislative assaults on civil liberties and can only serve to fuel fears and hostility towards Muslim communities in the UK. More investment should be made in highlighting the positives of Muslim contribution, and reviewing foreign policy – these are the main two measures, which will decrease disaffection. Why is it that the positive stories don’t make the news or politicians speeches – because it doesn’t suit their agenda of maintaining the foreign policy and deflecting their blame onto Muslims.”

For further information, please contact Ruhul Tarafder on 0207 582 1990 / 07956 398739 or email: ruhul@blink.org.uk

1990 Trust press release, 10 November 2006