Saturday, October 28, 2006

British Muslims, poll

Police have no right to rush into action on dubious intelligence, say most Muslims in poll

Will Woodward, chief political correspondent
Tuesday June 27, 2006
The Guardian

Police have no right to rush into action on dubious intelligence, say most Muslims in poll

· Many report experiencing hostility since July 7
· Most have lost confidence in Met police chief

Will Woodward, chief political correspondent
Tuesday June 27, 2006
The Guardian

Quotes:

"Most Muslims have lost confidence in Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, and do not accept that officers have the right to take action to pre-empt potential terrorist attacks when the intelligence could turn out to be wrong, a Guardian/ICM poll shows.
The findings, in a poll of Muslim opinion, starkly illustrate the lack of confidence in the police following the raid on a home in Forest Gate, east London, this month. Police, acting on faulty intelligence that a chemical weapon was housed there, shot a Muslim man.

Fifty-four per cent of Muslims said Sir Ian Blair should resign over the Forest Gate raid, while 29% said he should not.

In the poll, carried out two weeks after the raid, Muslims were also asked: "Do you think it is right or wrong for the police to act to pre-empt potential terrorist attacks, even if the intelligence, information and warnings may turn out to be wrong?" Thirty-one per cent said it was right and 57% said it was wrong.

This view contrasts sharply with that held by the general public. When the same question was asked of a representative sample of all adults, 74% said the police were right to act and 17% said they were wrong."

"Police raided the Forest Gate house after reportedly receiving intelligence that there could be a chemical or biological weapon inside the home.

They shot Mohammed Abdulkayar, and arrested him and his brother, Abul Koyair. The men were released without charge a week later.

The raid fuelled tensions which have remained high since the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian killed by police at Stockwell tube station last summer after the July 21 attempted bombings. Mr Koyair wore a shirt bearing Mr de Menezes' name during a protest march in east London.

The poll suggests middle-class Muslims are slightly more critical of the police than working-class Muslims are.

Opinions on who is most to blame for the Forest Gate raid are split: 32% of Muslims blame the intelligence services, 30% the police, and 32% both equally.

When Muslims were surveyed about their feelings in the aftermath of the July 7 bombings last year, their views offered scant comfort to the police, although the overall picture is complex. The poll asked whether their confidence in the police had increased, decreased or stayed the same since the bombings: 16% said it had increased, 29% that it had decreased, and 50% said it stayed the same.

Confidence in the police is higher in the south, which includes London: 23% say their confidence has increased. And there is more support for Sir Ian, too: 32% in the south say he should not resign."

"When Muslims were asked about their attitudes to Britain since July 7, 14% said they feel more attached, 10% less attached and 74% said they felt the same.

ICM Research interviewed a sample of 501 Muslims aged 18 and over by telephone on June 16-21 2006. All Muslims had previously been interviewed on the regular ICM telephone omnibus and had agreed to participate on future surveys. Interviews were conducted across the country and the data has been weighted to the profile of all Muslims. For the single question asked among the general population, ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,005 adults aged 18 and over by telephone on July 16-18, 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults."