Fox News Scare-Tweets About British Muslims
While taking a brief stroll through the Twittersphere’s wingnutustan I found this scare-tweet by Fox based on a survey of British Muslims:
Poll: 2 out of 3 Muslims in Britain would not give the government info if they knew about a terror plot. pic.twitter.com/i6xqBgwPkB
Followed a few hours later by the same graphic with a different focus:
Poll of British Muslims’ views: 23% want Sharia law. pic.twitter.com/M11ITpZXm3
Naturally, the results Fox chose are cherry-picked and presented without 1.) the context of how the control group of non-Muslims answered, or 2.) the exact wording of the question as well as other available answers.
Moving along… Regarding the first tweet, Fox makes it sound like there would be a sort of approval or silent complicity in a future terror plot. Scary, huh? Yeah, except for the part where the actual question (emphasis mine) was:
Q.22 If you thought that someone who is close to you was getting involved with people who support terrorism in Syria, would you…
[See pages 550 and 614 of the PDF.—CL]
Ah, so the question was about Syria, not Britain (as Fox would have you assume), and the survey provided six different answer options. Indeed “only” 34% said they’d report it to the police, the part that was left out was that 30% of the non-Muslim control group gave the same answer to the exact same question. Most Muslims (46%) said they would “Talk to the person directly about it to dissuade them,” 37% said they would “Look for help,” and 27% said “I don’t think someone close to me would get involved with people who support terrorism.” Only 9% said they wouldn’t get involved and 10% said they don’t know what they’d do. When you put it in context it kinda changes how you see it, doesn’t it?
By the way, the survey follows the above by asking who else the respondent would turn to for help. The results for both Muslims and non-Muslims were within a couple of points of each other, the top three being 1.) a member of their family, 2.) a member of my family, and 3.) a friend.
The second tweet regarding 23% of British Muslims wanting Shariah law pretty much makes it sound like nearly 1/4 of British Muslims would like to see the overthrow of the British government and establishment of some sort of caliphate where everyone would be subject to Shariah (BTW, saying “Shariah law” is redundant). Surprise!—that’s also a misrepresentation. I really had to dig into the poll to find that one. The actual question was:
Q. 14 To what extent, if at all, would you support or oppose there being areas of Britain in which Sharia law is introduced instead of British law?
[See page 125 of the PDF.—CL]
That’s a bit unsettling and not something that I think any Western country would ever allow (though Israel does allow it to a degree, for Muslims—not sure about Christians). The part they left out? That 23% was the net support—the net oppose was nearly double at 43%.
FWIW, you might be interested in knowing that the net opposition to a caliphate (regardless of how it is achieved) is 67%, while net support is 7% (table 98/Q.28 pp.297-298). Net opposition to Da’esh style tactics for establishing a caliphate is 73% while net support is 3% (table 99/Q. 29 pp. 299-301). Yeah, any support for those kinds of tactics is disturbing. That said, if we didn’t have our own (non-Muslim) right-wing extremists expressing support for similar tactics, I’d probably be a bit more concerned.
So what does this say about American Muslims? Not a damned thing, that’s what—we have an entirely different culture and set of laws, U.S. Muslims are more integrated into American society (though Trump & his supporters would like to change that), and we are a much smaller percentage of the population (Britain + Wales is around 5% Muslim, while the U.S. still hovers around 1%).
It took me a while to locate the actual ICM poll, but I eventually found it. The survey was done last year, but a recent program using its data was aired in the UK in April 2016. Here’s a link to the ICM page with downloadable PDF’s of their methodology and the full results of the poll, the latter embedded below for your convenience. Top line results begin on page 589 of the PDF (you’ll find a link in the bookmarks, if you download it).
The summary top line compares findings from the Muslims sample and the control sample of a nationally representative sample of all GB adults, which permits easy comparison of responses to questions that were asked of both samples (questions only asked of Muslims are not included in the top line). […]