Does the Sun’s claim about UK Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis stack up?

The Sun has splashed with the headline: “One in five Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”, but does the claim stack up? A look at the polling data behind Monday’s headline calls into question how the newspaper has interpreted the figures.

The splash and story inside the paper are based on a telephone poll carried out by Survation last week. It is not clear how the British Muslims were sourced, and how far the sample Survation used can be deemed to be representative of the overall group.

The particular question on which the headline is based asked respondents if they agreed with a list of statements. Only 5% of respondents agreed with the statement: “I have a lot of sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria.” A further 14.5% said that they had “some sympathy” with them. Taken together these figures add up to 19.5%, prompting the Sun’s story.

Even by taking the figures at face value, they ignore the fact that nearly 71.5% said they had no sympathy for young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria. The question posed by Survation makes no mention whatsoever of jihadis, Islamic State and the reason fighters are going to Syria. Moreover, the question does not stipulate who the “fighters in Syria” are – Isis fighters or perhaps those of other rebel groups.

The second problem is that the term “sympathy” is open to misinterpretation: while one person might take this to mean that they share the opinion of those going to fight, a second could simply mean that they understood on an emotional level that someone would choose to do so. One can have sympathy for a position but not agree with it.

The spread of Wahhabism, and the West’s responsibility to the world

François Hollande’s declaration of war against Isis (also known as Islamic State) was, perhaps, a natural reaction to the carnage in Paris but the situation is now so grave that we cannot merely react; we also need sustained, informed and objective reflection. The French president has unwittingly played into the hands of Isis leaders, who have long claimed to be at war with the West and can now present themselves as noble ­resistance fighters. Instead of bombing Isis targets and, in the process, killing hapless civilians, western forces could more profitably strengthen the Turkish borders with Syria, since Turkey has become by far the most important strategic base of Isis jihadis.

We cannot afford to allow our grief and outrage to segue into self-righteousness. This is not just the “Middle East problem”; it is our problem, too. Our colonial arrangements, the inherent instability of the states we created and our support of authoritarian leaders have all contributed to the terrifying disintegration of social order in the region today. Many of the western leaders (including our own Prime Minister) who marched for liberté in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre were heads of countries that, for decades, have backed regimes in Muslim-majority countries that denied their subjects any freedom of expression – often with disastrous results.

One of these regimes is Saudi Arabia. Despite its dismal human rights record, the kingdom has been central to western foreign policy in the Middle East since the 1970s and western governments have therefore tacitly condoned its “Wahhabisation” of the Muslim world. Wahhabism originated in the Arabian peninsula during the 18th century as an attempt to return to the pristine Islam of the Prophet Muhammad. Hence, Wahhabis came to denounce all later developments – such as Sufism and Shia Islam – as heretical innovations.

In 2013, the European Union declared that Wahhabism was the main source of global terrorism. It is probably more accurate, however, to say that the narrowness of the Wahhabi vision is a fertile soil in which extremism can flourish. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Wahhabi chieftains did indeed conduct violent military expeditions against the Shia but, during the 1930s, the Saudi kingdom abandoned military jihad and Wahhabism became a religiously conservative movement. Today, some members of the Saudi ruling class support Isis but the Grand Mufti has condemned it in the strongest terms. Like Osama Bin Laden, Isis leaders aim to overthrow the Saudi regime and see their movement as a rebellion against modern Wahhabism.

The Limits of British Values

The UK Government recently announced its Counter Extremism Strategy, a document which refers to ‘British values’ 54 times. Within this report, extremism is defined as ‘the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.’ These are certainly fine values — which British governments have consistently failed to support.

Britain has been responsible for the undermining of democracy, turning a blind eye to abuses by its allies, using extraordinary rendition to get around the rule of law, passing over the denial of individual liberties to dissidents, and the evasion of the dismal situation for religious minorities. Ironically, David Cameron’s first act after the unveiling of this act was setting trade deals with China, hardly notable for its democracy, rule of law, individual liberty or tolerance for different faiths. This was followed by a rock star reception for Indian PM Narendra Modi, whose rule has seen a shocking increase in Hindu supremacist ideology and attacks on minorities.

The paranoia around ‘entryism’, defined as ‘extremist individuals, groups and organisations consciously seeking to gain positions of influence to better enable them to promote their own extremist agendas’, has a particularly rich irony, when many extremist individuals have been invited to Number 10 for tea. For decades, extremists have had no need for deception. Britain has supported theocrats and dictators as long as it served British business interests, whether under Tory or Labour rule. This list includes Muhammad Zia ul-Haq and the Taliban, primary architects of the Islamisation of South Asia; Muammar Gaddafi, and so forth. Saudi Arabia’s repression of its people and its disrespect for human rights is almost identical to that of the Daesh Islamic State. It is also the major source of toxic Wahhabi-generated propaganda that has been so influential in fomenting extremism. Britain’s long trade relationship with this state is a flagrant exhibition of double standards.

Why I went undercover to investigate female Islamic State supporters

When three Bethnal Green schoolgirls left the UK to join ISIS earlier this year, I was appalled. They had lived and gone to school just over a mile away from where I was brought up and, like so many others, I found it incomprehensible that modern British girls would be attracted to a belief system that states that women are completely inferior and subservient to men; existing only to serve Jihad fighters as wives.

My friend Aisha (cover name), was also deeply affected by what she was seeing.

Also a journalist, she too couldn’t comprehend how and why young people – many with the same backgrounds as ourselves – could not only reject their own families, but also the British values like secularism and democracy that they had grown up with and allowed them to practice their faith and exercise their right to free speech so freely and openly. To make sense of it, we began to research the Channel 4 documentary which caused shock-waves last week. Aisha went undercover to investigate.

Through patience, dedication and commitment, we slowly gained the trust of a key group of women. By hiding our identities in the ‘virtual’ world of twitter we would reach out to them, liking their statuses and tweets, sharing, re-tweeting and creating a sort of ‘girly’ friendship bond. Soon enough, we gained the respect of Umm L, Umm Usmaan and Umm Saalihah as well as others in the concentric circles of the fifth column female disseminators living right here. Aisha painstakingly bided her time over a number of months. It requires immense patience to create a relationship with the women who trust almost no-one and publicly call out those who they think are spies or journalists. Aisha was wary of asking too many questions; gaining their confidence by answering all the questions they had regarding her.

After helping them leaflet at an ‘Islamic roadshow’ in Lewisham, Aisha was invited to their study circles. Captured just weeks before the attacks in Paris, her undercover footage shows some of the leading female Islamic State sympathisers who, in weekly two-hour lectures, use racially abusive language to describe Jews and Israelis and urge young Muslim women to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

After 12 months infiltrating these groups, I have learnt that the threat from these women and their role in the jihadi war has been severely underestimated.

These seemingly well-integrated women – one was a careers advisor – are charming, persuasive and convincing. Groups like ISIS understand this and are capitalising on their pulling power. The ‘softening up’ effect of these messages on women is important to recognise. Women glorifying jihad to not just other young girls, but also to their very small children is particularly worrying.

I truly believe ISIS want to split the world into two camps; ‘us versus them’ and engender the kind of hatred that resulted in the vicious verbal attack on a young British Muslim woman, Ruhi Rehman last week on the Metro in Newcastle.

After Paris, Isis must have known hate crimes against Muslims were going to rise; it’s what they were counting on – the rejection and vilification of Muslims.

If people turn on each other now, that will be a victory for them. More than ever, we need to stick together which is why I was so heartened to hear how the passengers on that Newcastle train came to Ruhi’s rescue. That, for me, demonstrates British values of liberty and tolerance at their best. Surely that ideology is our best defence against terror.

British Islamic extremists who sneaked out of UK admit breaching terror law

Trevor Brooks and Simon Keeler had been required to notify police three days in advance of any overseas travel under Part 4 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008. But the pair failed to give police any warning when they left the country earlier this month, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard. Brooks, 40, and Keeler, 44, were arrested in Hungary on a train headed for Bucharest, the Romanian capital, on November 14. They were then sent back to the UK after a European arrest warrant for them had been issued.

Prosecutor Adam Harbinson said: “Mr Keeler was found with nine pairs of socks and two tubes of toothpaste which indicates that he intended to be travelling for some time.” He said there was no record of their names on any airport or port’s list of passengers leaving the UK on November 9 – when Keeler said they had departed – or November 8 or 10. Their intended destination was not given to the court.

Brooks and Keeler were handed four-and-a-half year jail terms in April 2008 after urging Muslims to join the mujahideen and fight Britons and Americans in Iran.

Brooks was born in Britain to Christian parents of Jamaican origin. He converted to Islam at the age of 17 with one of his brothers and changed his name to Abu Izzadeen. Former builder Keeler – also known as Sulayman – became the first white British Muslim to be convicted of terrorism offences.

UKIP Deputy Paul Nuttall On Breitbart Radio – Radical Islam Is a ‘Greater Threat Than Nazi Germany Ever Was’

Speaking with host and Breitbart News Network’s Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Nuttall said: “I have a 5 year old son, and I worry that the century into which we’re heading now is going to be a violent century and the greatest threat to the globe isn’t going to be Russia, it’s going to be Islamic fundamentalism.

“If we’re going to cut this cancer out of our world we’re ALL going to have to come together – that includes ourselves, the Russians, the States, the Chinese, the Indians, and indeed some of the Muslim states as well because this is a threat – a greater threat actually, I think, than Nazi Germany ever was to the globe.”

“This is probably the greatest threat humankind has ever faced because these people are willing to die on behalf of their cause. They’re willing to give their own lives in the name of Mohammed and Allah, and we as a globe must come together and we must say ‘enough is enough’ and we must cut this cancer out and it must be done now.”

Mr. Nuttall gave the example of Sir Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt being grown up enough to join with Joseph Stalin to defeat Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

He added that he was sceptical of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to support anti-Assad forces in Syria.

“I want to see a plan, I want to see what a post-ISIS Syria will look like… will we be handing over the keys of power to the Turkish-sponsored rebels… including the Al Nusra front, an Al Qaeda affiliate… [and groups] who are sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood. Now let me just read to you the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto: ‘Allah is our objective, the prophet is our leader, the Quran is our law, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope’.”

“Now should we really be supporting people whose motto is this? I don’t believe we should”.