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issues_islam
(08/21/07) -

Some Britons, Italians See Muslims as Threat

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in five European countries and the United States do not perceive Muslims as a menace to their national security, according to a poll by Harris Interactive published in the Financial Times. However, 38 per cent of respondents in Britain, and 30 per cent in Italy, do think the presence of Muslims in their own nations poses a threat.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in five European countries and the United States do not perceive Muslims as a menace to their national security, according to a poll by Harris Interactive published in the Financial Times. However, 38 per cent of respondents in Britain, and 30 per cent in Italy, do think the presence of Muslims in their own nations poses a threat.

In Germany, 28 per cent of respondents express concerns about the presence of Muslims in the national territory, followed by Spain with 23 per cent, the U.S. with 21 per cent, and France with 20 per cent.

On Oct. 17, 2001, U.S. president George W. Bush declared that the war on terrorism was “not a war on Islam.” The same sentiment was echoed by then-British prime minister Tony Blair.

On Jul. 7, 2005, four blasts in London killed at least 53 people and injured 700 more. Investigators say three British nationals of Pakistani descent and a Jamaican-born man were responsible for the explosions at three underground stations and a double-decker bus. Authorities believe the event was a coordinated suicide bombing, the first to ever occur in Western Europe.

In late June and early July this year, two attempted car bombings were reported in the British capital, and a car—filled with gas cylinders and fuel—crashed into the doors of Scotland’s Glasgow Airport in another apparent attack. Six people have been arrested in connection with the incidents, which according to British investigators, are related. All are non-British Muslims who had worked in Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS).

According to the Pew Research Center, about 2.35 million Muslims live in the U.S. In addition, there are about 1.5 million Muslims in Britain, around 1 million in Italy, and about 3.5 million in Germany. Islam is the largest religious minority in Germany.

Last month, British prime minister Gordon Brown discussed, Muslim extremism, saying he wanted to demonstrate the “importance we attach to non-violence, the importance we attach to the dignity of each individual. The question for us is how we can separate those extremists from the moderate mainstream majority.”

Polling Data

Does the presence of Muslims in your country pose a threat to national security or not?

BRI

FRA

ITA

ESP

GER

USA

Yes

38%

20%

30%

23%

28%

21%

No

45%

68%

56%

45%

58%

58%

Not Sure

17%

11%

14%

32%

14%

21%

Source: Harris Interactive / Financial Times
Methodology: Online interviews with 6,398 adults in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States, conducted from Aug 1 to Aug. 13, 2007. Margin of error for individual countries is 3 per cent.