Isolation Nation: Are British Muslims Being Pushed Towards Radicalization?

Isolation Nation: Are British Muslims Being Pushed Towards Radicalization? © Flickr/ Roberto Trm

17:41 11.04.2016Get short URL

The former chair of the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that many Muslim communities are becoming increasingly isolated from the country at large, a trend that could lead to an increase in radicalization.

In the wake of the publication of an ICM survey on UK Muslims’ political views, former chair of the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Philips, said that Britain is “in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims”.

The survey highlighted how many Muslims living in Britain hold opinions that are at odds with the vast majority of the UK’s population.

While the full results have not yet been published, the figures made public so far revealed that a quarter of the 1,000 subjects interviewed said they could understand why British school girls would want to become jihadi brides and that 52 percent of them said gay sex should be made illegal. Four percent of the subjects also said to have sympathy for suicide bombers.

Philips argued that the survey should be interpreted as a clarion call to end “the failed policy of multiculturalism” and kick-start more aggressive integration policies.

“Muslims who have separatist views about how they want to live in Britain are far more likely to support terrorism than those who do not,” Philips said.

But Muslim opinion leaders warned against jumping to conclusions. Roshan Muhammed Salih, editor of Islamic opinion website 5Pillars, told Sputnik that while some Muslims are undeniably more conservative than the average Briton, linking that with terrorism or radicalism is misleading.

“When the general public read these results they tend to conflate the two things [social conservatism and extremism], and I don’t think they are actually related,” he said.

“Poll after poll has showed that the vast majority of British Muslims oppose ISIS [Daesh] and other terror groups. There are obviously small, crazy minorities, but crazy minorities are present among Christians, Jews, and secularists as well,” Muhammed Salih told Sputnik.

He said that some people might have been supportive of the so-called jihadi brides — young girls who leave for Syria or Iraq to provide sexual comfort to militants — because of their feelings for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Muhammed Salih added that shifting from the UK’s current multicultural approach to a more secular one — such as in France — could be risky.

“Britain has traditionally been more inclusive when it came to integrating different religions, and that is the main reason why most Muslims like Britain: because they can practice their religion freely. The danger is that if Britain becomes more muscular, more secular and tries to impose its values, many Muslims will become more resentful and community relations could get worse.”

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