Monday, 11 April 2016

Some days, I really do despise the BBC

From the BBC

What do British Muslims really think? It's a question that news organisations have repeatedly tried to answer since the terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, and one that suggests that maybe the person asking isn't a British Muslim.

Some Muslims have expressed their weariness at these regular enquiries about their opinions, which they believe may be motivated by a desire to demonise them in the eyes of the non-Muslim population or to portray Muslims as a community with a single homogeneous opinion. But others believe these surveys are an important way of raising difficult and important questions about divides within society.

This whole debate has been re-opened by a new poll, but this time some Muslims have chosen to use humour to respond to findings which they feel are not representative of their attitudes.

This is nothing less than apologia by the BBC. A poll has been conducted by Channel 4, generally a fair-minded, generally liberal-minded broadcaster which said that 52% of Muslims would like homosexuality to be illegal. Now, if a Muslim said that say, they get demonised as suicide bombers, they'd have a point. You can even say "we aren't all like that". But you can't say that Muslims are demonised as against homosexual rights when most of them are.

Commenting on the results, Trevor Philips, former head of the Equality & Human Rights Commission, told the newspaper: "I thought Europe's Muslims would gradually blend into Britain's diverse landscape. I should have known better."

But in an apparent attempt to prove him and the poll findings wrong, some British Muslims are taking to Twitter to highlight what they have in common with their countrymen - a sense of the ridiculous, and an appreciation of the banal aspects of everyday life. A Conservative politician, Baroness Warsi, the former Minister of State for Faith and Communities, kicked it off.
Tweet

What the fuck? Sorry, but a few tweets from a few of the more liberal minded people doesn't prove him wrong. A few tweets aren't data compared to 1081 adults who represent a broad cross-section of the population. It's like me tweeting my republican opinion as though that represents what the county thinks of the Queen.

Lord Phillips, who will present the documentary on Wednesday, wrote in the Sunday Times that the poll illustrated truths that some would find uncomfortable. "Liberal opinion in Britain has, for more than two decades, maintained that most Muslims are just like everyone else... we now know that just isn't how it is," he wrote. His comments were seized on by, among others, the disgraced former leader of the far-right English Defence League.

Sorry, but disgraced, how? Other than imprisonment for mortgage fraud, how is he disgraced in this context? If anything, he's become a better citizen, moving more towards democratic change. Or does the BBC mean "disgraced" as in "someone we don't like"?

And what he actually did was write Lord Phillips's word, like what, that means, precisely what exactly? That Lord Phillips and him are buddies? So, finally, you're saying that Tommy Robinson isn't a racist, but just concerned with Islam, like he's been saying for years while being smeared as a racist?

This was the response from the Chair of the Muslim Women's Network UK.

"I wish people would stop promoting the 'us and them' narrative that only promotes hatred & creates divisions"


Right, and what percentage of Jews, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus would like homosexuality to be illegal? Or looking at the survey, how many of those people would tell the police if someone they knew joined a foreign, terrorist army? More, or less than 34%?

You can't go objecting to people having an "us and them" narrative when a reasonable size percentage of your group have a bunch of views about some pretty basic stuff that fall outside of what everyone else thinks.

This isn't the first time a survey about British Muslim's opinions has stirred up controversy on social media. In December 2015 the Sun newspaper published the headline "1 in 5 Brit Muslims' sympathy for jihadis", triggering a huge backlash on Twitter. Its reporting of the results was later deemed "significantly misleading" by the Independent Press Standards Organisation following a slew of complaints.

As opposed to this poll, which found that 23% of Muslims would like areas of the country under Sharia Law instead of British Law? Or how about the Telegraph one a few years ago that said that 40% of Mulims wanting Sharia law in some parts of the country. Sorry, but you can keep suggesting that people saying this are knuckle dragging racists, but after a couple of polls, it's starting to look like you're in the wrong.

A different survey commissioned by the BBC in February 2015 found that 93% of Muslims living in Britain believed they should follow British laws. In the same survey, 27% said they had some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Full results of the poll can be downloaded here.

Nice try, but wanting a different system of law isn't the same thing as accepting the system you live under. We're all OK with 7% of people feeling they don't have to follow the law? And hey, it's only a quarter of Muslims who have some sympathy for people who murder people over free speech. No biggie.

And I'd just like to add: I know some Muslims and I've worked with some good guys who were Muslims. I don't have a blanket view of Muslims. But to pretend that there isn't a problem with at least some sections of Muslims when you've got these sorts of percentages is just the worst sort of politically correct denialism.

43 comments:

Bayard said...

Is 1081 the usual size for this sort of survey? If it is, I'm never going to believe anything shown by a "poll" or "survey" again. How can you correct for the tendency of people with strong views on something to take part in these surveys and the tendency for people without strong views to view them as a waste of time if you only talk to 0.04% of the population?

Not that that excuses the pathetic bleatings of the Beeb, or the usual suspects clamouring for another 15 seconds of fame. OTOH, the Beeb depends on similar rubbish to make its headlines, so it is not about to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

The Stigler said...

Bayard,

1000 is around the normal number, yes. And yes, those sorts of things are problematic. But, if lots of people declined, then the poll wouldn't go ahead.

The one small downside is that they polled in areas with larger muslim populations due to cost limitations. That might mean the results are different. But still, the numbers are a bit worrying...

Budvar said...

This survey was with 2000 people..

Lola said...

You only despise the BBC on some days?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed. None of this is new or surprising, all of this is quite depressing.

The Stigler said...

Lola,

Mostly, I'm just a bit pissed off that they force me to pay for a lot of rather mediocre programmes.

Rich Tee said...

I would like to see the same sample done on non-Muslims at the same time compared side by side. I wouldn't be surprised if 50 per cent of non-Muslims would say in private that they think homosexuality should be illegal. People confuse tolerance with approval. You can disagree with something but still think it should be tolerated in society.

But the problem with Islam is that it isn't very tolerant.

When I was young I remember beiing in favour of bringing back the stocks as a community punishment!

Bayard said...

"1000 is around the normal number, yes. And yes, those sorts of things are problematic. But, if lots of people declined, then the poll wouldn't go ahead."

I remain sceptical not only about the whole science of extrapolating from such tiny percentages of populations, but also about the method by which this is done. An organisation that is paid to poll is unlikely to lightly give up their task and hence much of their renumeration, simply because lots of people decline to participate. I would expect that a large majority of people are now pissed off with being continually rung up to ask for their opinion on this that or the other and given the polls you quote in your post, probably especially Muslims.

Also, you have to wonder about the motivation of anyone commissioning such a poll in the first place. To me it suggests, at best, some cheap headline-seeking and at worst, Muslim-bashing and xenophobia. It is always very handy for a state to have an identifiable enemy and if that enemy can be a population living in the country, so much the better. In the C17th it was Catholics wanting to bring the country under the rule of the Pope, today it seems to be Muslims wanting to bring the country under the rule of Sharia law.

"But still, the numbers are a bit worrying..."

But you don't know how many of the Christian population of this country would like homosexuality to be illegal, especially those with brown skins.

"Mostly, I'm just a bit pissed off that they force me to pay for a lot of rather mediocre programmes."

Well, you are not really paying for the mediocre programmes, you are paying to have a TV, not that that really makes things any better. It really is time the TV licence was replaced by a subscription fee.

Lola said...

B. (O/T) "It really is time the TV licence was replaced by a subscription fee.. For the BBC only and not compulsory. My view is that that would force Sky to cut its prices as well.

L fairfax said...

I don't like what the Guardian says so I don't buy it - if the BBC wants the license fee to continue it needs to be a lot less biased.

pen seive said...

Apparently, the majority of Muslims polled think that homosexuality should be illegal. In that case, why do they find such pleasure in buggering young boys? Perhaps male paedophilic rape doesn't count in their world?

James Higham said...

Love the Beeb. Love it. Absolutely ... er ... love it. Yeah. Fabulously well balanced. [Yawn, I gits bored].

paulc156 said...

"I wouldn't be surprised if 50 per cent of non-Muslims would say in private that they think homosexuality should be illegal." R.T

You might be right. We tend to think of ourselves 'today' as both modern thinking and inclusive but only a relatively short time ago we were homophobic bigots...many just learned to keep quiet about it.

The Stigler said...

Ok, data for 'no religion' is around 20% who think it's wrong. For Anglicans, around 37%. For Catholics, around 40%.

http://www.brin.ac.uk/figures/attitudes-towards-gay-rights/

You might also note that the least favourable religious group is 'other religion' lumping together Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and the rest.

We called also check this US research into attitudes to gay marriage which finds that Muslims aren't scoring highly in the USA on this matter, either.

http://2tzms222h2ff3dfce824gngnno8.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2015/06/Homosexuality-society-ranking-02.png

But all of this is missing the point, which is this pretence that despite polls showing Muslim attitudes, that they aren't. Most moderate Christians wouldn't throw a 'how daw you' card out if you said that lots of Christians are homophobic bigots.

I mean, Warsi even wrote leaflets condemning the end of Section 28 and the equalisation of the be of consent less than a decade ago, so, it's a bit rich of her to complain.

Bayard said...

"But all of this is missing the point, which is this pretence that despite polls showing Muslim attitudes, that they aren't."

It looks to me like the context of this is that there is a lot of explicit and implicit anti-Muslim stuff in the media these days, probably because stuff about Muslims sells. There's a lot of Muslim terrorism going on (not going into the whys and wherefores) so people are interested in all things Muslim, especially if they are showing the Muslims to be i) different (so that non-Muslim readers/viewers can disassociate themselves more easily) and ii) bad (so that people don't have to think too hard as to why there might be so much Muslim terrorism going on). So when stats like the ones in the post come out, the Beeb feels it has to prove itself on the other side to the antis, despite thae fact that its efforts are largely counter-productive. Being a cynic, I am tempted to think that their efforts are supposed to be counter-productive.

"Most moderate Christians wouldn't throw a 'how daw you' card out if you said that lots of Christians are homophobic bigots."

Well, since the poll wasn't sorted into moderate and fundamental and since it is likely that fundamental types are more likely to respond to polls (and comment on blogs for that matter), it being important to them to get their views out there, where the moderates don't really care, we don't really know if moderate Muslims wouldn't agree with you if you said that lots of their co-religionists were homophobic bigots. Well, they would struggle to say the opposite with a straight face. However, "lots of" doesn't necessarily equal 52%.

L fairfax said...

"It looks to me like the context of this is that there is a lot of explicit and implicit anti-Muslim stuff in the media these days, probably because stuff about Muslims sells. "
What anti Muslim stuff? Compared to the press about the EDL who IIRC have not killed anyone it is quite positive.

The Stigler said...

Bayard,

Anti-muslim? Someone commissions an opinion poll showing rather concerning levels of support? OK, maybe there's lots of polls going on, but that might be because lots of the public are rather scared that all muslims are suicide bombers at heart (they aren't).

Sobers said...

"lots of the public are rather scared that all muslims are suicide bombers at heart (they aren't)"

True. Well, sort of.

Lots of Muslimns aren't suicide bombers, in fact all bar 0.0001% aren't suicide bombers. Thats not really the issue. The issue is whether the 99.9999% are prepared to shop someone they think might be a suicide bomber, or who is a suicide bomber in the making. There we appear to have more of a problem. Dealing with the very small number of actual Islamic terrorists in the UK is pretty simple, if they don't have a sympathetic population to hide in, or encourage them. If on the other hand no-one at the local mosque is prepared to shop the hothead who's spouting off about the Jews and the usual anti-western malarky, then we have a problem. If the local mosque is even encouraging the hothead with their rhetoric and choice of imported preachers, then we have an even bigger problem.

The problem we have is that while 99.999% of Muslims aren't prepared to strap on a suicide belt, a pretty large % of them aren't 'that' outraged by anyone who does decide to do so. Certainly not outraged enough to try and root out such behaviour from their communities anyway. If they were the problem would die a death in short order. Islamic terrorism could not flourish without the backing of a sympathetic or non-judgemental larger section of society behind it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, good summary.

Bayard said...

"The issue is whether the 99.9999% are prepared to shop someone they think might be a suicide bomber, or who is a suicide bomber in the making."

That is making the ridiculous assumption that all Muslims are either suicide bombers or know someone that is. Is it not more likely that if 0.0001% are suicide bombers, then the number that know about them will only be very slightly larger? Suicide bombing is illegal and whilst suicide bombers cannot be right in the head, they and their "handlers" are not so stupid as to tell any more than the bare minimum of people who need to know what they intend to do. Neither you nor I have any idea what percentage of Muslims would shop a fellow Muslim if they found out that he or she was intending to blow themselves up, or if not that, simply take other steps to prevent them doing it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, stop being so bloody politically correct all the time. Talk to people, scratch beneath the surface a bit, see where it leads you.

Robin Smith said...

MW look in the mirror and do the same?

Stigler, are you excluded atheist christians from you analysis. Who've murdered 100,000's in the name of democracy over recent years. An no one seems to think its a problem. Spooky. Scratch between the surface a bit and see where it leads you.

Am I still being moderated for questioning your gods?

Bayard said...

"B, stop being so bloody politically correct all the time."

It's a shit job, but someone's got to do it.

In any case, I am not being politically correct when I point out that it is ridiculous to say that all Muslims are either suicide bombers or know of one. It's like saying that, since a tiny percentage of chartered accountants are fraudsters, then all chartered accountants are either fraudsters or know of one that is. After all they all belong to the same society, go to the same meetings etc. What's so politically correct about accountants?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B: it is ridiculous to say that all Muslims are either suicide bombers or know of one.

I don't think any commenter here said anything of the sort. Try reading Sobers' comment properly and applying it to chartered accountants. Or Sikhs. Or Plymouth Brethren.

Robin Smith said...

What Sobers conveniently forgot to mention was how to look in the mirror, before pointing at what he fears most.

That is, doing the same kind of thing which is causing all the problems he complains about.

A cosy delusion. Incoherence.

Its how all ideologies capture us. Religious or secular is not important. Christian Atheists tend to be the biggest victims of this psychopathy. Given its an unconscious activity they;re not even aware of it.

Sobers is a good case history.

The Stigler said...

Bayard,
Maybe we can question if it's a bit exaggerated, but when 34% of people say they wouldn't report someone going off to fight with ISIS, I'd suggest there's a lot of people who would turn a blind eye to someone planning terrorism.

Robin Smith,
Whether you agree with Afghanistan or Iraq, those were democratically made decisions.

L fairfax said...

I don't agree with the Iraq war and we should have pulled out of Afghanistan in 2006 when it was clear that the Afghan government is not much better than the Taliban (with trying to kill Christian converts etc).
However many of the deaths in Iraq were caused by Muslims killing other Muslims.
The problem was not caused by people not looking in the mirror but because they thought that Islam is like Christianity and thought "if the UK/US was invaded I would not try to kill other Christians/Atheists therefore if we invade Iraq they will not to kill each other"
@Bayard
" it is ridiculous to say that all Muslims are either suicide bombers or know of one. "
That is true. It is however scary that 23% want Sharia law. Under Sharia law pedophilia would be legalized - 23% of Muslims want a law which allows 9 year old girls to marry.

L fairfax said...

This is relevant
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2058935/Police-advise-Christian-preachers-to-leave-Muslim-area-of-Birmingham.html
"The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned."
Imagine if that happened to Muslims somewhere else in the UK? With exception of the EDL heartland of parts of Luton I would think that it is almost impossible.

Bayard said...

Mark, I've read Sobers comment again and it is the usual case of innuendo via an "if...then" sentence that then implies that the "if" is more or less a certainty, followed by an unsupported assertion about "a pretty large % of them aren't 'that' outraged by anyone who does decide to do so." What's a "large %" in this context? The implication is that it is 99.999%, the figure quoted above. This is followed by the argument that, since extremist behaviour exists within the Muslim community, that proves that Muslims aren't prepared to shop extremists. He finishes with "Islamic terrorism could not flourish without the backing of a sympathetic or non-judgemental larger section of society behind it." which is a bald assertion without any justification. Did the Baader Meinhof gang require "the backing of a sympathetic or non-judgemental larger section of (West German) society" or the Black Panthers require the same in the USA?

Now go through those points above and replace "Muslim" with "chartered accountant" and "extremist" by "fraudulent" as you asked me to do and ask yourself if they are a true reflection of how things are in the world of accountancy.

"Maybe we can question if it's a bit exaggerated, but when 34% of people say they wouldn't report someone going off to fight with ISIS, I'd suggest there's a lot of people who would turn a blind eye to someone planning terrorism."

That's a bit like saying that people who wouldn't report someone for a bit of tax fiddling are prepared to turn a blind eye to murder.

"It is however scary that 23% want Sharia law."

Is that 23% want Sharia law instead of British law, or 23% want Sharia law under British law, with British law taking precedence? As you can appreciate, there's quite a fundamental difference between the two. ISTR there is even something in the Koran to say that Muslims should obey the laws of the country in which they live.

L fairfax said...

@Bayard
@" ISTR there is even something in the Koran to say that Muslims should obey the laws of the country in which they live."
So why did Salman Rushdie have to go into hiding?

L fairfax said...

@Bayard
"That's a bit like saying that people who wouldn't report someone for a bit of tax fiddling are prepared to turn a blind eye to murder."
As ISIS rape and murder non Sunni Muslims on a massive scale not reporting someone who is going to fight for ISIS IS turning a blind eye to murder and should be prosecuted as such.

Robin Smith said...

Define "massive scale"?

Western democracy has killed hundreds of thousands recently. Are you saying "our God is better than their god" so we're justified? That would be rent seeking writ large and on a metaphysical level. Yet you pride your atheism.

Are you guys willing to accept the possibility that your ideologies possess you as much as theirs, secular and religious?

For example, you keep implying and I've heard you state explicitly "but we have truth!" as would every fake religion.

Are you willing to consider this. Or is that 'forbidden'?


L fairfax said...

@"Yet you pride your atheism."
Who are you talking to? I am a Christian
@"Define "massive scale"?"
Apologies I should have said large numbers over 1000, pedantism IMHO in this case is not really a good debating point.
@"Western democracy has killed hundreds of thousands recently."
The hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were partly killed by Islamic fundamentalists.
For example Abdul-Majid al-Khoei was not killed by the west.
I am not sure how you can say what percentage was killed by which ideology.
Would you say that everyone killed in World War II was killed by western democracy?

Robin Smith said...

The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.

Bayard said...

"So why did Salman Rushdie have to go into hiding?"

Probably because very few Muslims obey everything the Koran says, just as very few Christians or Jews* obey everything the Bible says they should do.

* to ward off pedantry, I do know that the Jews don't use the New Testament.

Robin Smith said...

B. What about "the same as do atheists, democrats, socialists, libertarians, Marxists - abandon principle values when looking in the mirror"

Or is your god better than their god. Is it only Bayard who has truth? Wadsworth told me had "truth" with an angry militant face once at the pub, when I brought LVT under serious scrutiny. Are you aware you might be just as possessed as an islamist?

Whatever your world view, religious or secular, if its a delusion or limited in any worldly way, what use is it?

Worse, if it possesses you, you and your family are in a whole world of trouble...

Because you won't be aware any more of the harm you are proposing is forced onto others

L fairfax said...

@Bayard said...

"

Probably because very few Muslims obey everything the Koran says, just as very few Christians or Jews* obey everything the Bible says they should do.
"
So we don't need to worry about Muslims because Islam teaches them to obey our laws. However if you insult Mo you need to go into hiding because they don't all obey Islam?
That is reassuring.

Bayard said...

"B. What about "the same as do atheists, democrats, socialists, libertarians, Marxists - abandon principle values when looking in the mirror""

Dunno, is that an answer to "So why did Salman Rushdie have to go into hiding?"? If so, fair enough.

"Or is your god better than their god. Is it only Bayard who has truth?"

Who says I even have a god? Everyone has truth, but no-one has a monopoly on it.

Robin Smith said...

Everyone has a God. Yours might be LVT I'm not sure. The question is, does your god possess you. That is, is what you believe is truth, better than what others believe is truth. And does it make you look outside for blame or in the mirror. Clearly on this post you are looking at religion and not in the mirror at your own god. Is that a satisfactory help? If yes, then by all means continue your questions

Bayard said...

Everyone might conceivably be held to have a god, but not everyone has a God and what is truth?.... but now we descend into arguing about semantics, and that way lies ranting and madness. I bid you good night.

Robin Smith said...

Semantics, or a point of certainty is being approached? Semantics, or denial? Semantics, or the thing one buried deep as a child is emerging?

Rant if you want to. I'm going to continue my scientific analysis. Are you willing enough to come with me?

Yes? Then you will need to forget about your god your truth whatever you want to call it.

That takes courage because few have tried and will close ranks against you if they spot it. Its unknown ground beyond the mainstream paradigm. Scary.

Much safer to stay in ones belief system. Its a protectionism of course. And the price of that protection?

Your freedom. Or taxation. Whatever your despotic father figure looks like.

Coming?

Robin Smith said...

B. See if you can get through this
https://youtu.be/-i5Ohhbhkn4

Robin Smith said...

B. See if you can get through this
https://youtu.be/-i5Ohhbhkn4