A third of British Muslim students say killing in the name of Islam is justified. This news, from a poll from the right-wing Centre for Social Cohesion, was reported yesterday in the Telegraph and the Times of London, and no doubt spread fear throughout the West. And for good cause. During the past two days we have seen a parade of the tragic fruits of these opinions.
The poll found that 40 percent of Muslims supported the introduction of sharia and thought men and women should not mix freely; 24 said men and women were unequal in Allah’s eyes, while slightly more said they had little or no respect for homosexuals; and a third backed a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was. Of these, 4 per cent said killing could be justified to “promote or preserve” religion, while 28 per cent said it was acceptable if that religion were under attack.
Additionally, 57 percent said Muslims in the armed forces should be able to opt-out when combat would take place in Muslim countries.
Indeed, those are scary sentiments, but the killing opinions shouldn’t be that surprising. A 2007 Pew poll of American Muslims found that 26 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 thought Islam could, at least at times, justify suicide bombings of civilians.
“Muslim or not Muslim, we all fear death. Blowing yourself up is not something everyone can do or something that everyone has the courage to do,” the Muslim Student Association leader at Cal State Long Beach told me. “But don’t get me wrong: I‘m not saying we should all go around America doing that; Palestine is a different situation. There is a huge difference between saying we should do it and saying I’m going to be a suicide bomber. I just think it is something that Islam justifies.”
He added that “60 or 65 percent of the youth” agree: “It’s very rare that I meet someone who says suicide bombings in Palestine are not justified.”