Britain’s Muslim Generation X

EUROSC

A new poll suggests that a generation of religious extremists is growing up in Britain. According to the report published by think tank Policy Exchange, over a third of British muslims aged between 16 and 24 would prefer to live under Sharia law than British law. Just under a third of this age group believes that converting from Islam to another religion should be punishable by death, while 74 percent of the age group preferred women to wear the veil or Muslim headscarf.

The youngsters interviewed for the poll are radically more extreme than their elders: Among over 55s, only 28 percent would prefer women covered.

Figures for other issues in which the large groups of young Muslims took extremist positions also show that more moderates exist among older generations.

Support for terror groups ready to take on the west, including al-Qaeda, runs at 7 percent in the British Muslim community as a whole: Among young people, the figure rises to 13 percent (only 3 percent of elders claim to admire al-Qaeda).

The report’s author says that British policies encouraging multiculturalism must take some of the blame for the rise of what it describes as “the emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain.”

“(Policies) implemented since the 1980s … have emphasised difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines,” he writes.

It must be added that hot-headedness is a characteristic of youth politics. In France, for example, polls suggest that support for far-left and far-right groups is highest among the young (indeed, some argue that many of France’s political problems are due to the fact that its public figures are unable to put aside their youthful radicalism).

In Britain, too, young radicals from racist skinheads to anti-poll tax rioters have been a troublesome part of the political tapestry. Most are expected to grow out of their youthful convictions: Many will hope that the young Muslims interviewed for the poll will do likewise.

However, the coming generation of Muslim radicals can cause more damage than the skinheads or anti-Thatcher mobs ever dreamed of. Three of the July 7 terrorist bombers fell into the 16-24 age group: 22, 19 and 18 years old when they murdered 52 people on London’s transport system. Two of the four accused in a series of follow-up attacks on 21 July were 24 or under.

The Telegraph claims that university campuses have been targeted by extremist groups seeking recruits.

It is hugely worrying for Britain to see so many of its young gripped by an extreme, reactionary ideology. From radical to terrorist is quite a step, of course – but it is clear that some young British muslims have taken that step already. However, even if most youngsters stay “just” radical and eschew terror (or at least its practice), the long-term implications for cultural relations are bleak: How will liberal Britain handle calls for sharia, demands that women are veiled, or cope with the prospect of growing sectors of its population turning their back on the mainstream?

January 30, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. The latest news is that there has been a plot to capture a British soldier on leave from Iraq, place demands on Blair to withdraw the troops from Iraq and then to decapitate the soldier on the Internet, as happened IN IRAQ with the Liverpool man Ken Bigley

  2. A new poll suggests that a generation of religious extremists is growing up in Britain. According to the report published by think tank Policy Exchange, over a third of British muslims aged between 16 and 24 would prefer to live under Sharia law than British law. Just under a third of this age group believes that converting from Islam to another religion should be punishable by death, while 74 percent of the age group preferred women to wear the veil or Muslim headscarf.

    I would suggest these degenerates go live in countries where sharia law rules.

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