Europe Politics, Politics

UK Muslims are sympathetic to ISIS

One in five UK Muslims support ISIS
One in five UK Muslims support ISIS

About 30 per cent of UK Muslims are not opposed to ISIS according to a survey on Muslim attitudes towards ISIS. The survey carried out by Survation for British newspaper The Sun shows that one in five British Muslims has sympathy for those who have travelled to Syria to join ISIS.

More than 5 per cent have a lot of sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join the fighting, while 14.5 per cent say they have some sympathy with the people who join ISIS.

The level of support among Muslim women is also high with a quarter of those surveyed saying they had at least some sympathy.

So why does an organisation like ISIS have such an alarming level of support among Muslims in the UK? So far no one has been able to come up with a single overarching and definitive reason for this phenomena.

Some commentators have pointed to an identity crises and lack of proper integration into British society. However, some Muslims have blamed the situation on the foreign policy decisions of the UK and other Western countries such as the invasion of Iraq.

Whatever the perceived grievances, there can be no justification for supporting or joining an organisation like ISIS, which also targets Muslims.

It is false premise to blame the foreign policy of Western governments for the actions of these jihadists. It is true that the invasion of Iraq was wrong, and it contributed to the chaos that gave rise to groups like ISIS. However, groups like ISIS, which is a Sunni-salafist group also target other Muslims especially those they believe to be heretics such as followers of the Shia branch of Islam.

More Muslims have died from the havoc wreaked by the likes of ISIS who in pursuit of their narrow fundamentalist objectives have directly targeted other Muslims or showed no regard for the collateral death of Muslims as they try to attack Western interests.

80 percent of London Muslims support ISIS
80 percent of London Muslims support ISIS

It therefore makes no sense for Muslims to support ISIS given the murderous impact of the organisation on other Muslims.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical and does not support the facts to point to Western foreign policy as the reason for turning your back on your country and finding common cause with people outside your country just because you share the same religious beliefs

What exactly was the US doing that warranted the death of more than 3000 innocent people in September 2001? What did the people of Tanzania and Kenya do to deserve the deaths of over 200 citizens of those countries in 1998 when al Qaeda attacked US embassies in those countries?

What did the people of India do to deserve the massacre of 168 people in Mumbai in 2008?

The corollary from this is that non Muslims would therefore feel justified in attacking Muslims wherever they are because of the actions of the likes of ISIS and al Qaeda?

Surely, this sort of societal disintegration is not what decent Muslims wish for, especially in light of another report in the UK which showed that attacks on hijab-wearing women have rocketed since the Paris terror tragedy.

There are 2.7million British Muslims and some are now suffering from the events in France; and hate crime against Muslims in the UK has rocketed by 300 per cent since the Paris terror attacks, with women being the main targets.

Some prominent Muslims in the UK like the MP Sadiq Khan have spoken about the situation. Mr Khan who is also the Labour Party’s candidate in the London mayoral election believes the survey on Muslim attitudes towards ISIS is a wake-up call.

He said that it is clear that Britain needs to take its head out of the sand and act to tackle extremism and radicalisation at home; and that tackling extremism is a challenge for everyone, especially UK Muslims who have a special role to play.

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