Chatham House Briefing Paper Examines the Rise of “Counter-Jihad” Groups

27 March 2013

goodwinA report released this month by Chatham House entitled, “The Roots of Extremism: The English Defence League and the Counter-Jihad Challenge” examines the rise of counter-jihad groups as a particularly confrontational and unpredictable variation of right-wing extremism in Europe and North America.

 

The author of the paper, Dr. Matthew Goodwin, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nottingham, uses the English Defence League (EDL) as a case study to analyze the potential reasons for the emergence of counter-jihad organizations and the nature of those who support them. Using new data collected by a 2012 YouGov survey, Dr. Goodwin finds that many commonly held assumptions about right-wing extremists, specifically those pertaining to education level, socio-economic status, and age, do not accurately characterize the supporters of counter-jihad groups and that these assumptions do not serve as an adequate basis for policies meant to combat the unique threat posed by these organizations.

original report

George Galloway criticizes veil ban in Westminster

9 December 2102

 

Renowned British lawmaker George Galloway has attacked new restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Muslim face-veil (Niqab) at the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, describing the move as an infringement on Muslim rights:

 

“Everyone understands the need to have proper security, but these rules seem a little heavy handed and confusing to me.”

 

British authorities have imposed new restrictions on the wearing of the Muslim veil at the Palace of Westminster. Under the new rules, niqab-wearing Muslims will be required to remove their face-veil.

 

There is amounting pressure from the public to outlaw the veil in public spaces. In September 2010, the Burnley College in Lancashire banned the Muslim face-veil on campus. A recent YouGov survey found that some 67 percent of Britons favor face-veils to be made illegal.

 

Firther, lawmaker Philip Hollobone has already tabled a bill in the parliament calling for Britain to follow France and outlaw the wearing of the face-veil in public.

67% of Britains would like to see burqa banned in public, poll says

The majority of British adults believe that the burqa should be completely banned in Britain, a recent poll by YouGov on behalf of Channel 5 news has found. 67% of respondents agree that the burqa should be completely banned in Britain, with 42% of those in agreement feeling strongly.

Indeed, although the majority of UK adults agree that the burqa should be banned, over a quarter (27%) disagree that it should be completely outlawed in Britain. And interestingly, there is far less support for a ban amongst younger adults, with nearly half (46%) of 18-24 year olds and 37% of 25-34 year olds saying that they disagree with a ban on the burqa. This is compared to 30% of 35-44 year olds, 22% of 45-54 year olds and 16% of those aged 55 and over.

Britons link Islam with extremism, says survey

Most people in the UK associate Islam with extremism and the repression of women, a survey has suggested. The online YouGov poll found 58% of those questioned linked Islam with extremism while 69% believed it encouraged the repression of women.

The survey of 2,152 adults was commissioned by the Exploring Islam Foundation. The organisation has launched a poster campaign on London transport to combat negative perceptions of Muslims.

BBC home editor Mark Easton says the survey, conducted last month, paints a negative picture of British attitudes to Islam. Asked if Muslims had a positive impact on British society, the YouGov poll found four out of 10 disagreed with the statement. Half linked Islam with terrorism, just 13% thought it was based on peace and 6% associated it with justice. Some 60% admitted they did not know much about the religion, but a third said they would like to know more.

The Exploring Islam Foundation hopes to challenge the negative views of the religion with its Inspired By Muhammad project. It will feature posters of Muslim professionals, displayed in central London locations such as bus stops and tube stations, alongside messages emphasising the ways in which Muslims balance religious tradition with contemporary human rights and social responsibility. This campaign is important because it can help non-Muslims to better understand the faith that inspires and guides their Muslim friends, neighbours and colleagues

Remona Aly, campaigns director for the foundation, said many Muslims were concerned about the way their faith was perceived by the public. “We want to foster a greater understanding of what British Muslims are about and our contribution to British society. We are proud of being British and being Muslim,” she said.

A spokesman for the Quilliam Foundation , the counter-extremism think tank, welcomed the campaign, describing it as a “timely step to help improve relations and foster deeper understanding between British citizens”.

“This campaign is important because it can help non-Muslims to better understand the faith that inspires and guides their Muslim friends, neighbours and colleagues. This initiative also helps British Muslims reclaim the Prophet Muhammad as a time-honoured guide for peace, compassion and social justice from those who seek to twist his teachings.”

Britons link Islam with extremism, says survey

Most people in the UK associate Islam with extremism and the repression of women, a survey has suggested. The online YouGov poll found 58% of those questioned linked Islam with extremism while 69% believed it encouraged the repression of women.

The survey of 2,152 adults was commissioned by the Exploring Islam Foundation. The organisation has launched a poster campaign on London transport to combat negative perceptions of Muslims.

BBC home editor Mark Easton says the survey, conducted last month, paints a negative picture of British attitudes to Islam. Asked if Muslims had a positive impact on British society, the YouGov poll found four out of 10 disagreed with the statement. Half linked Islam with terrorism, just 13% thought it was based on peace and 6% associated it with justice. Some 60% admitted they did not know much about the religion, but a third said they would like to know more.

Number of Muslim MPs doubles in British general election

The number of Muslim MPs has doubled to eight in the closest elections in decades and saw the first three Muslim women — all Labour — elected to the 650-member House of Commons, the Muslim News reports. In addition, the first Conservatives have gained their first two Muslim MPs.

Over 90 Muslim candidates of various political persuasions stood in the general election, including 22 women. Three Muslim women, all Labour, became the first to enter parliament. The first Muslim woman to win was Yasmin Qureshi winning in the Bolton South East constituency in north-west England, but by a reduced majority of more than 8,600. Shabana Mahmood increased the majority of outgoing former International Development Secretary Clare Short from under 7,000 votes to more than 10,000 in Birmingham Ladywood in central England.

With the swing from Labour to Conservatives, one of two Muslim ministers, Shahid Malik, lost his parliamentary seat by just over 1,500 votes. But Transport Minister Sadiq Khan defied the swing to retain his seat.

Nadhim Zahawi, the chief executive of online market research agency YouGov, also became the first Iraqi Kurd to become a UK MP. Zahawi is of Christian background.