Wednesday, July 05, 2006

That Poll...

In the header aobve this post, you will see that your single-minded Pedant-General lays out some aims of this venerable blog. I have recourse today to invoke the first of them. There is Woolly Thinking afoot and it is greatly in need of a thorough expunging.

I refer, of course, to the reporting of That Poll regarding attitudes to the 7/7 bombings and Islamist terrorism in general.

The Times has a little review in the second section which reveals this little nugget:

"I have thought about joining the police," says Muhammed Javaid, 31, a taxi driver from nearby Bradford who works in Beeston. Standing near his car, he explains that many Muslims feel the police force pays well, and rewards officers with secure employment and decent pensions. "The Army is different, though; it is not acceptable for Muslims to go and kill other Muslims. I would join the Army, but I would not fight in Iraq, for example." Would he choose to go to jail, I ask? "For my beliefs, yes. I will not kill fellow Muslims. That is against my religion."

The doublethink necessary to support this view is extraordinary. Presumably it is OK for Muslim jihadis to slaughter Muslim Iraqis.

Quite apart from this, the tacit assumption in this statement is that the primary role of Her Majesty's Forces in those theatres is
" ... to go and kill other Muslims."

The Times does nothing to point out this monstrous misrepresentation. I shall refer to those venerable, if drink soaked, pro-war popinjays to do so:
"The brother of the UK [Muslim] soldier Jabron Hashmi , was interviewed immediately before the debate. He clearly stated that Jabron felt he was helping his Muslim brothers in Afghanistan fight for stability and to rebuild their country."
The second piece of woolliness surrounds the relentless positive spin placed on the poll results themselves:
"... an overwhelming majority of those polled could not justify the suicide bombing of civilian, military, police or government targets — 89 per cent, 79 per cent, 86 per cent and 85 per cent respectively."
These are not positive numbers. They are extremely worrying. They are positively horrifying. Why? Let me rephrase them for you:

  • 14% of those surveyed thought that there might be some justification for the random slaughter of innocent civilian bystanders who happened to be in the vicinity of a police station.
  • 15% of those surveyed thought that there might be some justification for the random slaughter of innocent civilian bystanders who happened to be in the vicinity of a government office.
  • 11% of those surveyed thought that there might be some justification for the random slaughter of innocent civilian bystanders in general. Can you imagine a poll of the general population of the UK where this response would be given by more a single respondent?
  • 21% of those surveyed thought that there might be some justification for the random slaughter of innocent civilian bystanders who happened to be in the vicinity of an Armed Forces establishment.
Who lives and works at your average MOD establishment? Cleaners, contract caterers, wives, children. 21% think that it's just fine and dandy to kill these people.

21%. That is not an insignificant bunch of hotheads. That is not "just a handful of extremists".

It's just 1pp short of the proportion of the electorate you need to get a 66 seat majority in Parliament. Forgive me if I don't think that the results of this survey are encouraging.




11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given that a significant proportion of the British public think the indiscriminant bombing of Dresden and other German cities during WW2 was justified, those figures are actually quite low.

The Remittance Man said...

"I will not kill fellow Muslims. That is against my religion."

Apart from some very strange sects in places like Arkansas most religions have injunctions against killing people, especially co-religionists. Somehow that doesn't seem to have stopped humans of all persuasions from happily bashing each other over the head from time to time.

And I would find it very strange indeed if for a thousand years every muslim country has lived in perfect harmony with its muslim neighbours.

I'm sure a quick scan of google will provide many instances when muslims found it quite acceptable to slaughter other muslims in civil wars, national wars, riots after polo matches whatever.

I suspect that when the chance came to go and bash the bastards on the other side of the hill and nick their cows, women or gold, such religious qualms were conveniently forgotten even by the most devout. I'll even bet that from time to time clever Johnnies managed to find spurious religious excuses to justify murder and rapine just like the christians, jews, hindus and probably even the bloody tree worshippers have done.

ninme said...

Never mind the idea that the primary role of Her Majesty's Forces is to kill Muslims, if killing Muslims is a strict no-no, how many of his co-religionists in or thinking about being in the police force won't use necessary force, or even a firm talking-to, other Muslims?

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Anon,

Blogger logins are free. Please do go and get one so that we all know who you are. I shall then be delighted to welcome you personally to Infinitives Unsplit.

Thank you, however, for your comment. I don't agree and for a very simple reason. I'm surprised you haven't spotted it.

the key phrase in your comment is:
"... during WW2 ..."

Either you are suggesting that 11% of the general population generally support indiscrimate bombing of civilians during peace time, or you are suggesting that - for your comparison to hold water - 11% of those polled think they are at war with their own country.

The first is obviously palpable nonsense, which leaves the second which is quite possibly true and hence really very disturbing.


RM,

Hello and welcome. Dig your new blog. Long overdue.

"I will not kill fellow Muslims. That is against my religion."

I think this statement, on its own, is perfectly laudable. It's just that it is entirely irrelevant in the context of the Army's role in Iraq, which is very largely the attempted prevention of some Muslims from killing large swathes of other Muslims and subjugating all of the rest to a hideous theocracy.

ninme,

I'll need to look at the survey to answer that. This really comes down to the acceptance of the rule of law and of the legitimacy of Government to enforce it. Which is a different topic.

That said, I shouldn't think that the 11% who could find some justification for suicide bombing of civilians in general would hold the rule of law in particularly high regard....

Mr Eugenides said...

I agree, as ever, with most of what you write. However, if we are being pedantic (and if we can't be pedantic here, where can we be?):

The doublethink necessary to support this view is extraordinary. Presumably it is OK for Muslim jihadis to slaughter Muslim Iraqis.

There is nothing in what the taxi driver said that indicates he supports Muslim jihadis slaughtering Muslim Iraqis. He says that it is not acceptable for a Muslim to kill other Muslims, and cites that as a reason for not joining the army.

Even if we dispute that that is the purpose of Her Majesty's armed forces (which I certainly wuold), there is nothing to indicate that he views internecine bloodshed in Iraq as anything other than "un-Muslim".

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Mr E,

"There is nothing in what the taxi driver said that indicates he supports Muslim jihadis slaughtering Muslim Iraqis."

He may not support it, but he is quite dead set against preventing it.

In general, however, your objection to the "doublethink" phrase is probably fair though. I was having a little froth at the mouth and the phrasing for this was chopped about quite a bit.

Mea culpa.

Chromatistes said...

Sadly, neither Anonymous nor the distinguished P-G managed to spell 'Indiscriminate' correctly.

O Tempora, O Mores!

Akaky said...

The contention that Muslims do not kill other Muslims is somewhat ahistorical, to put it mildly; why was Peter O'Toole swanning around the desert in a bedsheet if not to better portray a Christian sent to help Muslim Arabs kill Muslim Turks in an organized and proficient military manner? The cabbie's argument, I fear, does not hold water or much else.

towcestarian said...

Killing innocent civilians in an attack on a "legitmate target" is OK by me. I have absolutely no problem with Palestinian civilians being killed by the IDF as a by product of blowing Hamas and IJ terrorists off the face of the earth.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...

Akaakakakakakkakaky:

His contention was not that Muslims DO not kill other Muslims, but that they SHOULD not.

My gripe is that that statement is at best meaningless (in that, given that Muslims very visibly ARE killing other Muslims right now, the issue is what to do about it) and at worst not quite the whole truth (in that when any other genuine human being says something of this sort, it is of a form similar to "thou shalt not kill" without any particular qualification as to who ought not to be killed. Is it OK for Muslims to kill people of other religions? Probably not, but it is a peculiar choice of words if he genuinely sees all humans as equal.)


Towcestarian:

Welcome to Infinitives Unsplit. It is always nice to see that the Internet has reached as far afield as Northamptonshire.

" Killing innocent civilians in an attack on a "legitmate target" is OK by me."

Well yes and no: it is regrettable and to be avoided as far as humanly possible.

there are two key points to note though:

Firstly, 11% - that is 120 people out of 1131 Muslims polled - don't see that there is a requirement to have a legitimate target.

Secondly, these are citizens of our country who appear to think that the institutions of our country are legitimate targets.

The populus people must have been pretty traumatised in carrying out this poll. Imagine ringing 1000 people and talking to 200 who believe they are basically at war with their own and your country.

Not good.

towcestarian said...

...and that is sort of why I put "legitimate targets" (originally IRA double-speak) in quotes. Every government and terrorist group has its own idea of who is a "legitmate target" and who is an "innocent civillian" - and in some folks minds (mine included) there is not much difference between the two.

I used to be in the UK Armed Forces I became used to being a "legitimate target" for Irish Republican terrorists all-day, every-day, year-after-year. A target when I was drinking in a pub in the evening, a target when I was sat on the beach on holiday, a target when I was in church at a funeral. So forgive me if I don't get too excited about "innocent civillians" getting wasted in a domestic terrorist conflict. Soldiers, police and politicians getting blown to bits on British streets is just as bad as wiping out nurses, firemen, cleaners, contract caterers, wives, children and various other angels of society.

You ask: "Who lives and works at your average MoD establishment?" and manage to think of a few of the peripheral "innocents" but fail to mention any of the loyal public servants who routinely risk their lives for your continuing safely and comfort. I can only assume you consider them to be worthy terrorist victims, whereas "innocent" civillians are not; a view that seems to be shared by 10% of the people in the survey.

On this logic, morally you would fall somewhere short of 79% of the muslims in the survey, who don't think terrorist attacks on the militaty are justified... I'm certain this is not what you actually think, but the wording of your original post certainly doesn't make this clear.

Sorry for being a bit serious, but this "innocent civillian" thing still really gets my goat.