The London transport bombings of July 2005 prompted no less than eight surveys of Muslim opinion in Britain within the year. When added to two surveys from 2004, they provide in the aggregate a unique insight into the thinking of the nearly 2 million Muslims in “Londonistan.” The hostile mentality they portray is especially alarming when one recalls that London’s police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, recently told the Times of London that the threat of terrorism “is very grim” because there are, “as we speak, people in the United Kingdom planning further atrocities.” The July 7 attacks: About one in 20 British Muslims has voiced overt sympathy for the bombings a year ago. Separate polls find that between 2% and 6% endorse the attacks, 4% refuse to condemn them, 5% believe the Koran justifies them, and 6% say the suicide bombers were acting in accord with the principles of Islam. Without endorsing the attacks, far larger numbers show an understanding for them: Thirteen percent say the July 7 suicide bombers should be regarded as “martyrs,” 16% say the attacks were wrong but the cause was right, while 20% feel sympathy for the “feelings and motives” of the attackers. A whopping 56% can see “why some people behave in that way.” Help the police? A worrisome number of Muslims would not help the police if they suspected a fellow Muslim was planning a terrorist attack, ranging in different surveys from 5% to 14% to 18%. Violence acceptable? Before July 7, 2005, 11% found it acceptable “for religious or political groups to use violence for political ends,” but only 4% thought so after the attacks, showing a rare improvement. Two polls turned up the identical figure of 7% of Muslims endorsing suicide attacks on civilians in Britain. (Among 18- to 24-year-olds, those most likely to carry out such an attack, the number jumps to 12%.) How about suicide attacks on the military in Britain? Positive answers came in at 16% and 21% (with 28% of 18- to 24-year-olds). Are the respondents themselves willing to embrace violence to bring an end to “decadent and immoral” Western society? One percent, or some 16,000 persons, answered in the affirmative. Muslim or British: Polling indicates that a majority of Muslims perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities. Two polls show that only a small proportion identifies itself first as a British (7% and 12%), but they differ widely on the number who identify first with their religion (81% and 46%).??Implementing Islamic law: Muslims widely state that Shariah should reign in Britain. Forty percent approve of Shariah being applied in predominantly Muslim areas, and 61% want Shariah courts to settle civil cases among Muslims. All of 58% want those who criticize or insult Islam to face criminal prosecution. Schools should be prohibited from banning female pupils from wearing the hijab, say 55%, while 88% insist that schools and work places should accommodate Muslim prayer times. Integration into Britain: In a nearly mirror image of each other, 65% say Muslims need to do more to integrate into mainstream British culture, and 36% say modern British values threaten the Islamic way of life. Twenty-seven percent feel conflicted between loyalty to fellow Muslims and to Britain. Of those who despise Western civilization and think Muslims “should seek to bring it to an end,” 32% endorse nonviolent means and 7% violent means. Attitudes toward Jews: Polls confirm that the anti-Semitism widespread in the Muslim world also rears its head in Britain. About half the Muslims polled believe that Jews in Britain have too much influence over Britain’s foreign policy and are in league with the Freemasons to control its press and politics. Some 37% consider Jews in Britain “legitimate targets as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East,” and 16% state that suicide bombings can be justified in Israel. (Among 18- to 24-year-olds, that number rises to 21%.) In sum, more than half of British Muslims want Islamic law and 5% endorse violence to achieve that end. These results demonstrate that Britain’s potential terrorists live in a highly nurturing community.?
By TOBY STERLING AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — The Dutch immigration minister who set off a political firestorm by threatening to revoke the citizenship of a Somali-born lawmaker lost a party leadership contest Wednesday seen as a referendum on the country’s tough immigration policies. The hardline minister Rita Verdonk caused the political downfall of lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the country’s most outspoken critic of fundamentalist Islam. Hirsi Ali became internationally known when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004 by a Muslim radical incensed by the short film “Submission,” a critique of the treatment of women under Islam which she wrote the script for. Verdonk was the front-runner in the contest to lead the free-market VVD party into elections next year until she threatened earlier this month to revoke Hirsi Ali’s passport. Hirsi Ali — also a member of the VVD — quit after Verdonk said her naturalization was invalid because she gave a false name when she moved to the Netherlands in 1992. Hirsi Ali, 36, has acknowledged her real name was Ayaan Hirsi Magan, and said she fabricated her name because she feared reprisals from her family after fleeing an arranged marriage. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende conceded Wednesday that her resignation had damaged the Netherlands’ reputation as a haven of tolerance. “Everything that’s happened has brought negative publicity,” Balkenende said at a lunch with the Dutch foreign press association. “I read the international papers too, but the question is, will it have a lasting effect? I believe not.” Verdonk was defeated by the more moderate Mark Rutte in the party primary. She retains her cabinet post. Rutte won 51 percent of votes, while Verdonk got 46 percent, the party said. Many prominent members of the VVD, including EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, shifted their support from Verdonk to Rutte after the Hirsi Ali affair. A former deputy prison warden, Verdonk built her reputation as a strict enforcer of the country’s immigration policies, among the toughest in Europe. Since taking office in 2003, Verdonk has ordered citizenship classes and tests for immigrants, raised visa fees by hundreds of dollars and began imprisoning rejected asylum-seekers before deporting them. As a result, immigration is half what it was in 2000. Verdonk, 50, had in the past benefited in the polls from decisions similar to the one on Hirsi Ali. She denied citizenship to an Ivory Coast-born soccer player Salomon Kalou, and deporting a young refugee from Kosovo just a month before she was due to graduate from Dutch high school. But after Hirsi Ali’s resignation, Verdonk was skewered in a 10-hour emergency debate in parliament, in which she was criticized by all sides for acting too hastily. Verdonk was forced to review Hirsi Ali’s case, and agree to reprocess her naturalization under her true name if necessary. Hirsi Ali continues to live in her apartment in The Hague under police protection because of threats to her life from radicals. She is unable to speak in public while her immigration case is under review and plans to move to the United States to join The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Rutte, 39, will now stand in national elections next May, with an outside chance of becoming prime minister as leader of the country’s third-largest party.
ROME: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has attacked immigration and foreign cultures in an apparent bid to raise his poor ratings before a general election in two weeks’ time. We don’t want Italy to become a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country. We are proud of our culture and traditions, Berlusconi told Italian public radio in an interview. We want to accept foreigners who are fleeing countries where their life and freedom are threatened but we don’t want to open our doors to everyone who comes here, creating problems and dangers for Italians, he said. Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition, which also includes the xenophobic far-right Northern League, is trailing the centre-left opposition in the opinion polls. The latest survey, published on March 24, credited the centre-left alliance led by Romano Prodi with more than 51% of the vote in the April 9-10 election, compared to nearly 47% for the right-wing coalition led by Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. On a personal level, only 34.5% favoured Berlusconi to lead Italy again, compared to 43.4% for Prodi, a former president of the European Commission. But, perhaps crucially for the prime minister, the survey showed around 30% of the electorate were still undecided. I shivered the other day when I heard (Communist Party leader Oliviero) Diliberto say on television that he had no problem with the introduction of lessons on _Qur’anic religion’ in schools because, according to him, in a few years’ time half the pupils would be Catholic and the other half Muslims, Berlusconi said. His comments drew a sharp reaction from the Democrats of the Left (DS), the leading party in the centre-left opposition alliance.The fact that the head of the government has not yet realised that Italy is already a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious country says a lot about the government’s understanding of immigration, a leading DS politician commented. A report published earlier on Monday showed the number of immigrants had doubled to 3.3mn between 2002 and 2005, of whom 540,000 were illegal migrants. The report by the ISMU foundation on multi-ethnic studies said immigrants owned 14% of the country’s property and made up 32.2% of its prison population, even though they represented just 5.7% of the population nationwide.