Speculations about radicalisation after Gaza convoy raid

Peter Neumann, director of the Center for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College, London University, said the Gaza convoy incident could prove to be a “tipping point” similar to the publication of U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, credited by analysts with deepening Arab and Muslim opposition to Western intervention in Iraq. “I’d expect a significant impact from this on radicalisation,” he told Reuters.

In Britain, Muslim activists reported fury at the incident. “My streets are in danger, and I say ‘streets’ meaning not just Bradford but the whole UK. This makes trouble for us peacemakers,” said Owais Rajput, a researcher at Bradford University in West Yorkshire, the home area of three of the four men who killed 52 people in the London attacks of 2005.

Abu Muaz of Call2Islam, a radical British-based Muslim group that seeks uncompromising opposition to Israel, said in the past two days there had been “a lot of anger among the youth.” “They ask what’s the point of just demonstrating? In the mosques, the imams don’t have a solution.”

Speculations on Muslim voting behaviour in upcoming British elections

With the British general elections coming up later this year, party leaders are beginning to look out for voter groups, among others, for Muslims. Observers might expect Muslims to be disappointed with Labour, who went to war in Iraq and initiated strict anti-terror rules that are said to have stigmatized Muslims significantly.

According to an opinion poll conducted by Theos, a “public theology think tank”, the picture however looks still good for Labour. If there were a general election tomorrow, 35 percent of voting Muslims (meaning those Muslims who claim they are more likely than not to vote) would vote Labour. This compares with 22 percent of voting Christians and 23 percent of the entire voting population. By comparison, whereas 30 percent of the voting population would tick the Conservative box, only 13 percent of voting Muslims would do so.

But the elections are still far away, and opinion polls are likely to change even last minute, and so also Labour politicians are best advised to woo Muslim voters.