Majority Have No Sympathy With Extremists

An exclusive poll suggests most Muslims think families are most responsible for stopping young people joining groups like IS.

More than a third of British Muslims say the actions of the authorities are contributing to the radicalisation of young people, according to an exclusive Sky News poll.

Some 39% of Muslims who were asked said the authorities, including police and MI5, were a factor in radicalising the younger generation, compared to 29% of Muslims who said they were not.

The research found the issue of young people travelling to fight with extremist groups, including Islamic State, or becoming so-called ‘jihadi brides’, remains highly controversial.

Two women spoken to by Sky News for the Survation poll into Muslim and non-Muslim attitudes

Saima Alvi and Miranda Rutley: areas of disagreement but also common ground

Abase Hussen, father of 15-year-old Amira Abase – one of three London teenagers to head to Syria in February, has blamed police for failing to warn families the girls were at risk.

However, the opinion poll – carried out for Sky News by Survation, suggests both Muslims and non-Muslims were most likely to see families as being responsible for preventing young people heading to Syria: 44% of Muslims and 65% of non-Muslims agreed.

Just 3% of Muslims thought the police were responsible for stopping young Muslims going to fight in Syria, 15% said it was the Government, 9% cited religious leaders and 2% said schools.

Sympathy with those leaving the UK to fight for or marry terrorist groups in Syria was highest among women.

Some 11% of female Muslims agreed they had a lot of sympathy, compared to 5% of males. The figures for non-Muslims were at 4% for both sexes.

However, a majority of Muslims and non-Muslims said they had no sympathy for those joining extremist groups.

The Sky News survey is the first of its kind and looked at what Muslims and non-Muslims think about issues including radicalisation, security concerns, political uncertainty, a rise in hate crimes and growing prejudice.

We asked 1,000 Muslims and 1,000 non-Muslims to share their opinions and found that while 71% of Muslims in the UK said the values of British society were compatible with those of Islam, 16% believed they were not.

The results found younger Muslims were more likely to see their values aligned to those of Britain, with 73% of those aged 18 to 34 agreeing, compared to 71% of those aged over 55.

Male Muslims were also more likely to agree – 78%, versus 64% for females.

On the issue of integration into UK society, the survey found 58% of non-Muslims believed their Muslim neighbours were not doing enough, with those aged over 55 more likely to be critical.

Two thirds of Muslims, however, said they were doing enough.

Anjum Anwar, one of the Muslims questioned in the survey, told Sky News: “Are we talking about integration or assimilation? That’s the problem, because I see integration happening.”

Saima Alvi, another Muslim respondent, said: “Do I need to stand up with a placard and say I’m an integrating Muslim? Surely not.”

Her non-Muslim friend Miranda Rutley joked: “Then I have to say I’m an accepting non-Muslim!”

The last few years seem to have seen a significant deterioration in community cohesion: a third of Muslims say they receive more hostility than a few years ago; and 44% of non-Muslims say they feel more hostility.

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