In the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Manchester, England, on Monday night — a suicide bombing that took 22 lives and for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility — the results of a 2016 poll of British Muslims could speak to the nation's present security concerns.
Among the findings revealed in April 2016 were that two-thirds of British Muslims would not notify police if they knew someone who was getting involved with others who support terrorism in Syria.
Other noteworthy stats: About one-third of respondents refused to condemn those who use violence against those who mock the Prophet Muhammad, and almost one-quarter agreed with the introduction of Sharia law in England.
Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, looked at the poll results for British Channel 4 — which commissioned the survey — and called them “astonishing” and “troubling,” the Express reported.
Phillips told the Express that the numbers demonstrated “the unacknowledged creation of a nation within the nation, with its own geography, its own values and its own very separate future.”
“For a long time, I, too, thought that Europe’s Muslims would become like previous waves of migrants, gradually abandoning their ancestral ways, wearing their religious and cultural baggage lightly, and gradually blending into Britain’s diverse identity landscape,” he told the paper, the Express said.
The Muslim Council of Britain rejected the poll results, saying it contradicted findings of earlier studies, the New York Times reported. One of the group's leaders, Miqdaad Versi, said the survey used views from a “fringe minority” to paint an inaccurate picture of the larger Muslim population in England.
Channel 4 said the poll was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,081 self-identifying Muslim adults in areas where Muslims constituted at least 20 percent of the population. The Times said nearly half of British Muslims weren't eligible for the sample, citing ICM Unlimited, which conducted the poll.
Martin Boon, the polling company's director, defended the results, the Times noted, and characterized it as “the most rigorous research into the views of British Muslims for many years.”
“There will always be a reason to treat surveys with caution — compromises have to be made and that often implies that theoretical purity is an elusive concept,” Boon told the paper. “We’ve yet to see any evidence from this poll’s detractors that Muslims living in more integrated areas have different views.”