Some Young British Muslims OK Terror

Article excerpt

Byline: Sharon Behn, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Nine percent of British Muslims told pollsters just months before the disclosure of an airline bombing plot yesterday that they think it is acceptable for religious or political groups to use violence.

That willingness to embrace violence for a political cause was strongest among young Muslims born in Britain, according to the survey.

Analysts blamed the trend on a rise of Islamic militants who, they said, have exploited grievances within isolated Muslim communities to stir up anger and resentment.

Of those questioned in the poll by NOP taken in March and April, 13 percent said they could understand why young British Muslims would want to carry out suicide operations.

The majority 80 percent to 85 percent disagreed with the use of violence or suicide missions.

Older Muslims, said Kamal Nawash, head of the District-based Free Muslims Coalition, grew up before radical Islam was widespread and when the prevalent ideology was a more tolerant, secular one.

In contrast, "young people have grown up in a period in which much of the ideology they have learned is exclusively Islamist," Mr. Nawash said.

According to the NOP poll, 22 percent of the Muslims surveyed agreed that the July 2005 rush-hour bombings of London's transit system, which killed 52 subway and bus riders, were justified because of Britain's support for the war on terror.

Young Muslims 31 percent, compared with 14 percent of those 45 and older were most likely to say the attack was justified.

About 1.6 million Muslims live in Britain. Most come from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and live in communities with ties that are stronger to their home countries than to Britain, said Marshall Sana of the British-based Barnabas Fund.

"You have whole communities that are sort of self-governing, who are not acculturating to the community but are becoming more distant," said Mr. …