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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

British Muslims Say War Is Directed Against Islam

LONDON -- More than two-thirds of British Muslims consider the war on terrorism to be a war against Islam, a poll conducted for the BBC showed Monday.

The ICM survey of 500 people also showed that over half of British Muslims believe Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network should not have been blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

However, 11 percent said they believed further attacks against the United States would be justified, and 8 percent said such attacks would be justified against Britain.

In the survey, people were asked: "President Bush and Tony Blair say that the war against terrorism is not a war against Islam. Do you agree or disagree?"

Seventy percent said they disagreed, while 20 percent said they agreed and 10 percent said they didn't know.

When asked whether they thought the United States and its allies were justified in blaming the Sept. 11 attacks on al-Qaida, 17 percent answered yes while 56 percent replied no. And 64 percent said al-Qaida should not have been blamed for the Bali bombing and similar terrorist attacks.

Yet 44 percent said attacks by al-Qaida or similar groups are justified because Muslims are being killed by the United States or allies using American weaponry. Forty-six percent said such attacks were not justified. The survey question did not say where Muslims were being killed.

Although 67 percent of respondents said they felt fairly or very patriotic toward Britain, 8 percent said attacks by al-Qaida or associated organizations against Britain would be justified.

There are some 1.5 million Muslims living in Britain. In the survey, 37 percent said there had been an increase in hostility toward them by non-Muslims as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

No margin of error was given for the poll, conducted this month by the ICM market research agency.

The British Council of Muslims, a group representing mainstream Muslim groups, said it agreed with some of the opinions expressed in the poll, particularly on the war against terrorism.

"Many of our affiliates are now complaining that this is turning into a war on Islam," spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said.

But Bunglawala said the council disagreed with those who believed the Sept. 11 attacks were justified.

"The vast majority of Muslims [believe] you can never justify the killing of innocent people on Sept. 11," he said.