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UK Muslims turn more radical

Anti-terror units are alarmed by a study revealing extreme radicalisation of young Muslims, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 22:59 IST
Vijay Dutt

A report revealing extreme radicalisation of young British Muslims has alarmed the anti-terror units and shown up that the multi-culturalism doctrine enunciated by Labour has indeed alienated an entire generation of young Muslims.

The study conducted by the right-wing think tank 'Policy Exchange' has found that young Muslims, born and brought up in Britain, are adopting more fundamentalist beliefs on key social and political issues than their parents or grandparents. Such a finding does not give much hope for integration nor for a safer society.

The four suicide bombers who killed 52 people on July 7 last year, were born in Britain and lived all their live here. But they were extremely radicalised and were against western values and foreign policies and wanted to set up an Islamic society. The findings indicate a similar attitude in the young generation. 

Forty per cent of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 said they would prefer to live under Sharia law in Britain, a legal system based on the teachings of the Koran.

The figure among over-55s, in contrast, was only 17 per cent. In many countries, even now people found guilty under Sharia law face beheading, stoning, the severing of a hand or being lashed.

According to the report, one in eight young Muslims said they admired groups such as Al-Qaeda that "are prepared to fight the West". Shahid Malik, the Muslim Labour MP for Dewsbury, said, "This report makes very disturbing reading and it vindicates the concern many of us have that we're not doing enough to confront this issue."

Over 36 per cent of the young people also said they believed that a Muslim who converts to another religion should be "punished by death." Among the over 55s, the figure was only 19 per cent.

Three out of four young Muslims would prefer Muslim women to "choose to wear the veil or hijab," compared to only a quarter of over-55s. Support was also strong for Islamic schools, according to the Populus survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Policy Exchange.

Forty per cent of younger Muslims said they would want their children to attend an Islamic school, compared to only 20 per cent of over-55s. Such beliefs are apparently the basic reasons for radicalisation.

But what strikes the most is that it is the younger generation living here which is more extreme in its views than the older people who were the original immigrants and had reasons to be more seeped into their faith. 

"This indicates the global influence of the ones who have hijacked Islamic values for their own aims," said a senior Muslim community leader to HT. He did not wish to be identified.

It was not surprising that Britain's foreign policies were a key issue among the Muslim population as a whole, with 58 per cent arguing that many of the world's problems are "a result of arrogant Western attitudes".

The Policy Exchange report, Living Together Apart: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism — says there is strong evidence of a "growing religiosity" among young Muslims, with an increasing minority firmly rejecting Western life.

Munira Mirza, the broadcaster and one of the authors of the report, was quoted saying that multicultural policies pursued by the Government had succeeded in making things worse, rather than better.

"The emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multi-cultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasised difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines.”

Baroness Uddin, the Muslim peer, said, "Unlike their parents, our young people feel that this is their country and are saying why are we being told we do not belong here.

"There is also a problem of a lack of opportunities. Some people have been brutalised by their experiences with the police and this war on terror."