SHAFAQNA –A new survey by Sky News has revealed that 40% of British Muslims partly blame police and MI5 for radicalizing young people, amid surge in the number of youth who travel to join fight in the Middle East. “For many, current counter-terrorism measures, particularly related to the Prevent strategy, actually lead to greater alienation as Muslims are seen through the lens of security, rather than tackling the scourge of terrorism itself,” spokeswoman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told The Telegraph on Friday, April 10. “The poll also highlights the missed opportunity our law enforcement authorities have in working more closely with British Muslim communities, especially in relation to counter-terrorism,” she added.
Conducted by Sky News, the poll reflects growing alienation between British Muslims and the wider community. While more than 75% of Muslims believe that Islam is compatible with British values, 14% of them disagreed, according to the survey that took views of 1,000 Muslims and 1,000 non-Muslims. On the other hand, more than 50% of non-Muslims agree that Islam is not compatible with their country’s values. With one in three Muslims saying they experience more suspicion from others than before, 44% of non-Muslim agreed they become more suspicious of Muslims than they were previously.
“This poll once again confirms that Muslims feel British and have a strong affinity with our shared universal values,” MCB spokeswoman stated. “We are sad, however, that the survey also shows that non-Muslims are more suspicious of Muslims, reflecting a growth in Islamophobia in the country to the extent that it is now socially acceptable.” Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million. In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population. Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British. Reflecting a deep-rooted relationship, a synagogue in the northern British city of Bradford has appointed, this month, its first Muslim member, in a decision passed unanimously by its ruling body.
According to the poll, two in three Muslims believe that they are doing “enough” to integrate into the British society.
Meanwhile, Muslim leaders highlighted the importance of building bridges between faiths in the UK.
“We need collective action to heal the rifts amongst our communities: we must continue to build bridges between communities and explain the true meaning of our faith; but we must also ask whether the discourse amongst the media and politicians has played a role in dividing the community,” MCB spokeswoman said.
As 60% of Muslims vehemently condemn those who left the UK to join fighters in conflict zones, more than a quarter of them expressed sympathy with foreign fighters.
“We do not know the motivations of people who wish to go out to Syria or those who sympathize with those who do travel to Syria to fight,” the MCB spokeswoman said.
“What is certain is that leaders across British Muslim communities and scholars have all warned against going to the region.
“The Syrian people are best served by lobbying and raising money here in the UK.”
The British government claims that up to 600 Britons have traveled abroad to take part in fighting in Syria, and that at least 218 have returned to the UK.
Last month, Cage, a British organization which campaigns on behalf of people wrongly accused under the so-called “war on terror”, claimed that extremist Mohammed Emwazi, or Jihadi John may have been radicalized after interrogation and detention by security services.
The group has also described Emwazi as a once “beautiful young man”.
A few weeks later, many British Muslims have complained that the UK foreign policy, discrimination and marginalization are the key factors pushing young Muslims to flee and join the so-called Islamic State (ISIL).
More recently, Nazir Afza, the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service in the north-west has claimed that Muslim teenagers see fighters of the so-called Islamic State (ISIL) as “pop idols”, warning that more children are at risk of “jihadimania”.
According to the Muslim prosecutor, the government should address risks posed by the term “jihadimania” than was previously thought.