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Responses to recent YouGov poll on Islam and British values

A  recent YouGov poll finds that 55% of British voters (based on a sample of 1641 adults) believe that

There is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society

The poll appears to have received little media attention – but here’s one comment on its findings:

The poll seems to reflect public concerns about so called “Muslim extremism” which may have been exacerbated by hostile media coverage and a plethora of government statements and policies over tackling radicalisation.

In another context, this might not have seemed such an egregious response.  Testing for British values (one government idea) is – not really very British.  Many would prefer a less parochial emphasis on universal liberal values.  Although sometimes complaints of excessive or unfair scrutiny – such as the MCB’s response to Eric Pickles’ letter to mosques –  seem unearned, some tabloid coverage – BBC puts Muslims before you! screeched one headline in the Star – could conceivably have played a role in the poll results.

But this response to the poll comes from 5Pillarz (or 5Pillars, as they have excitingly rebranded themselves).  Their perennial plaint is that dreadful people (like Sara Khan and Usama Hasan) are a threat to ‘normative’ Islam. And if 5Pillars is trying to persuade people that ‘normative’ Islam is compatible with British values – or any kind of liberal values – then they need to try harder.

Here’s 5Pillars on Usama Hasan:

Dr Hasan’s erroneous view on criminal punishments within the confines of an Islamic state is completely and utterly in contradiction against an ocean of facts, opinions and evidences from Muslim scholars (classical and contemporary) on the issue.

Those pesky liberal secular values come in for a good deal of criticism:

Whether it’s insults against our beloved Prophet (saw), the niqab or hijab, the beard, the Islamic stance on homosexuality or polygamy, attacking Islam is constantly justified under the façade of “freedom of speech” and pressure to conform to liberal secular values like Christianity and Judaism has.

In addition, there is a formidable effort by the media, government-funded think tanks and politicians to change core principles of Islam to suit the Western secular model. Millions of pounds and dollars are being pumped to water down and even eradicate concepts such as the holistic application of Shariah, working for the establishment of Khilafah in the Muslim world, unified Ummah, jihad and so forth.

For Dilly Hussain, it’s apparently a real problem that women can wear what they like, in the reasonable expectation of not being molested:

the freedom to ‘look but you can’t touch’ is evident in any street or town centre when a woman walks pass a group of males

Not surprisingly, he uses ‘secular liberal democracies’ as a term of disdain:

Furthermore, the presenter was hell-bent in his condescending style of ‘ impartiality’, imposing signature orientalist questions of analysing the Caliphate from the prism of secular liberal democracies as a bench mark to measure its viability in the modern era

Particularly pertinent to the YouGov poll is Hussain’s hostile response to the image of a Muslim wearing a Union Jack themed hijab. Here’s part of his complaint against Sara Khan:

Her column was an apologetic rant filled with liberal rhetoric: “IS says jihadi brides will be treated as equals. But the reality is they’ve given up the freedoms and women’s rights that Britain offers.

While I’m not sure if 5Pillars influenced any of the 55%, it’s not for want of trying.

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