A major, reputable poll, carried out by ICM for a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, has brought to light the fact that four percent of British Muslims sympathise with suicide bombers and that four percent of British Muslims sympathise with people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest generally. That there are one hundred and fifteen thousand people in Britain (mostly in England) who support the actions of the terrorists who recently caused much bloodshed in Paris, Brussels and the Middle East is worrying but for a very high proportion of this four percent their militancy will be just words, bravado and immature male posturing. My guess is that a similar, if not higher, percentage of white caucasians in Britain will have the same sort of sympathy for fascist organisations. It is a problem for our security and police forces but it is a containable problem that will, more than likely, never increase in size.
Another finding of the poll proves beyond doubt that British Muslims feel a strong connection to Britain. In fact, it appears that they are far more patriotic than the rest of us. Sadly, there is also a strong desire in the Muslim population to remain within their own separate (separated, separatist) communities.
Unfortunately there are a few negative tendencies brought to light by this poll which are frightening rather than just disappointing or worrying. Twenty-three percent of British Muslims (six hundred and sixty-three thousand people) want some form of Sharia Law to be introduced into the British legal system. Thirty-nine percent (one point one two five million people) believe that wives should always obey their husbands (the figure is five percent among the general population which will also include the Muslim element). Thirty-one percent think it is acceptable for a British man to have more than one wife (compared to eight percent of the general population).
The big bombshell finding is that fifty-two percent of British Muslims (one and a half million people) want to make homosexuality illegal with forty-seven percent of British Muslims wanting gay people to be banned from teaching (compared to five percent and fourteen percent of the general population respectively).
There are some added facts that make this situation potentially even more problematical for the inclusive, liberal agenda of Northern Europe.
... most British Muslims were born in Britain.
... most British Muslims are young people.
... the British Muslim population is growing and faster than the British population in general.
... there are many non-Muslims in Britain who are as equally non-tolerant of non-straight sexuality.
When you add all this together you are faced with a future for British society in which hostility is set to increase towards gay people to the point in time when the influence of the intolerant will outweigh the influence of the tolerant in the politics of the country, bearing in mind that the percentage of the population that is needed to alter law is considerably less than fifty percent in the apathetic political reality of the United Kingdom.
Therefore, it may well be that we have already reached the high-waterline of the liberal and enlightened zeitgeist in Great Britain. From now on it may very well be downhill all the way into Victorian prudery at best or a nasty medievalism at worst. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that shoplifters will be having their hands chopped off for their crimes in Britain or that women will be stoned to death for leaving their abusive husbands. However, the American experience makes it clear that the law in respect of the human rights of LGBT people can swing back and forth between accepting and condemning very easily. Liberal toleration of apparently mainstream Islamic beliefs in Britain could lead to a growing intolerance of gay people in Great Britain to the point of everything that has been achieved since 1968 being reversed.
More details of the poll can be found on The Guardian website
and from many other media sources.