According to a poll in today’s Sun newspaper and slapped across a fear inducing headline on the front page, one in five British Muslims have “sympathy for jihadis”.
The statistic itself, as described on the Sun’s front page, is a shocking one and, as expected, it’s caused many to question how such a big portion of Britain’s Muslim population could support the kind of poisonous ideology put forward by Islamic State.
But, of course, there is much more to the story than meets the eye and the way the paper has interpreted one poll has twisted the statistics to meet the Sun’s own pretty poisonous agenda.
Basically, the data used in the controversial survey actually falls way short of backing up any of the claims put forward by the Sun. There’s a shock.
The primary issue with how the Sun have chosen to interpret the statistics – from a poll of 1,003 Muslims in the UK (a very small sample size) released by Survation this morning – is it doesn’t actually mention anything about jihadis or ISIS whatsoever.
The actual question was:
Which of the following statements is closest to your view?
– I have a lot of sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria
– I have some sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria
– I have no sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria
– Don’t know
As reported by the Mirror and the Independent, it was from the responses to that question, that the Sun reached their “one in five” figure from the total of 5.3 per cent of respondents choosing the first answer, and 14.5 per cent the second – a total of 19.8 per cent (which falls just short of one in five).
It should be noted that if you ask non-Muslims the same question, you’ll get a similar rate of response.
The problem is, the Sun have then attributed that number with British Muslims sympathising with those fighting for ISIS abroad, but Islamic State aren’t the only group fighting in Syria.
ISIS are just one of dozens of rebel groups fighting back against the Assad regime in the bloody civil war in Syria which has caused thousands of people to flee the country.
Besides ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates, there’s also the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, the Army of Mujahideen, Jaish al-Sham, the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, as well as various Kurdish forces – many of those Brits who have travelled to Syria to fight have actually joined these groups.
It should go without saying that the majority of British Muslims don’t sympathise with the atrocities being committed by ISIS and the statistic the Sun won’t tell you is that 71.4 per cent of those polled said they had “no sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria”.
With attacks on Muslims in the UK on the rise in the week following the Paris attacks – the majority of those were women aged between 14 and 45 and dressed in traditional Islamic dress – it’s precisely these kinds of misleading statistics we really don’t need being peddled in this country.
Drumming up support for these types of lies is also precisely what David Cameron and the UK government want so they can implement an increased counter-terrorism policy and extremism strategy.
It’s a dangerous front page from the Sun and they should apologise formally for potentially drumming up racist hatred. Not a hidden away apology on page 26 – an actual front page apology where people can see it. Hey, a guy can dream that they might grow a conscience, can’t he?