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London 7/7 bombings
 

Ten years later, British see Muslims as a “threat” to democracy

In the 10th anniversary of the London bombings, a survey shows that 56% of British think Islam is hamrful for Western democracy. Muslim organisations think trend is "extemely worring."

FUENTES Huffington Post, El Mundo AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus LONDON 07 DE JULIO DE 2015 17:00 h
Columns for the victims of the London bombings at the 7/7 memorial at Hyde Park /EPA

Britain is set to mark the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, when the UK witnessed its first major Islamist attack.



The suicide attacks killed 52 victims and injured nearly 800 others when four bombs went off at Edgware Road, Aldgate and near Russell Square Tube stations, and on a bus in Tavistock Square.



St Paul's Cathedral has held a special memorial service, attended by Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Duke of York. Afterwards, an open-air memorial service was also held in Hyde Park, where a monument with 52 pillars was built to honour the victims.



 



The bomb destroyed number 30 double-decker bus in Tavistock Square in central London / Reuters



The Muslim Council of Britain announced nearly a dozen mosques in the UK are inviting non-Muslims and interfaith communities to join them while they break Ramadan fast and call for a prayer for peace and pray for the victims of terrorism.



However, more than half of British now regard Muslims as a threat to the UK, far more than in the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 bombings a decade ago, according to an exclusive poll for The Huffington Post.



 



MUSLIMS, “A THREAT TO WESTERN DEMOCRACY”



The research showed that  56% of people think Islam is a "major" or "some" threat to Western liberal democracy - a big rise from just 46% of people who said the same thing in a poll taken the day after the attacks on London's transport network on July 7, 2005.



Taken before the recent beach massacre which killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia, it reveals a marked rise in negative attitudes towards Muslims.



The poll, conducted by YouGov, also showed that more than three quarters of people surveyed - 79% - believe another attack on the scale of 7/7 in Britain is likely.



 



MUSLIM COMMUNITY ASKED TO CONDEMN TERRORISM



Prime Minister, David Cameron, has insinuated that Muslims have not done enough to condemn the violence, and the majority of British agrees. Only 20% of the people believe that UK Muslims are "peaceful, law-abiding citizens who deplore terror attacks in the name of Islam"



More British people associate the word "Muslim" with terror and terrorism than with any other quality, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by the charity Islamic Relief.



The survey asked people to name the three words they associate with the term "Muslim" and found that more think of "terror/terrorism/terrorist" (12 per cent) than "faith" (11 per cent) or "mosque" (nine per cent).



 



Poll conducted by the Huffington Post. / HP



Asked about refugees who go to UK for a better life, 42% said Britain should not take in foreign nationals fleeing conflict or persecution in their own countries. The figure rises to 47% who say that people fleeing Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. 



"The results of this poll are extremely worrying because they show that public attitudes towards Muslims are hugely negative and attitudes towards refugees have hardened significantly”, warned Islamic Relief's manager Jehangir Malik.



"It's time we celebrated the role British Muslims play as part of the solution rather than demonising the Muslim community as part of the problem", he added.



 



MUSLIM PERPECTIVE



“The Prime Minister is absolutely right in saying that finger-pointing when it comes to radicalisation is wrong and dangerous”, Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said.



But he regretted that “media response to speech suggests finger firmly pointing only at Muslim communities, even though we have unequivocally condemned terrorism.”



 



The Muslim Council of Britain announced special services in honour of the victims. / EPA



“It has been suggested that Muslims are not doing enough and somehow condone extremism. We would argue that clear evidence should be presented and wrongdoing challenged, rather than perpetuate insinuation persistently”, he stated.



Shuja Shafi believed that “simplifying the causes for tabloid consumption helps no one but the extremists”, and emphasize that ”there must be a better way, one where Muslim communities, wider British society and the government work together with, not against each other to tackle the problem.”



 



WOMEN AND ISLAM



Muslim organisations like Faith Matters or Tell MAMA, has denounced the increase of violence that Muslim women suffer in the UK.



Tell MAMA has a hotline for recording Islamophobic crimes and incidents, which found that 58% of all verified incidents were against women, and in 80% of those cases the woman was wearing a hijab, niqab or other clothing associated with Islam.



 



David Cameron and Boris Johnson at the memorial service in Hyde Park. / EPA



Maybe We Are Hated”, a report on the impact of Islamophobic attacks, written by Dr Chris Allen, a social policy lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Allen interviewed 20 women aged between 15 and 52 about their experiences.



One was called "Mrs Osama bin Laden" and told to "go back to Afghanistan". Another, on her way home after dropping her children at school, was followed by a woman with a pushchair, who spat in her face and asked her: "Why do you look so ugly? Why are you covering your face?"



"It feeds into the rhetoric of the Islamists saying: 'No matter how hard you try, you will never belong here, they hate you," Allen said. "When it comes to Muslims, they won't tackle these issues. It adds fuel to the fire", he concluded.


 

 


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