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Question of the Day
MUSLIMS IN BRITAIN
Nearly one-third of Muslim college students in Britain support killing in the name of religion, while 40 percent want to live under Islamic law, according to a secret cable from the U.S. Embassy in London that reviewed public polling data and government population predictions.
A survey of 600 Islamic and 800 non-Islamic students at 30 universities found that 32 percent of the Muslims believed in religious killing, while only 2 percent of non-Muslim students felt religious murder was justified, the cable said, referring to a poll conducted by the Center for Social Cohesion.
The embassy cable, released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, said the same survey revealed that 54 percent of Muslim students want to be represented by an Islamic-based political party.
The poll also showed that 40 percent of Muslim students endorse Islamic, or Shariah, law, which can impose the death penalty for religious heresy and adultery, often by stoning, or the amputation of hands for theft. Since 2008, Britain has allowed Muslims to follow Shariah law in civil cases, but not in criminal trials.
The embassy report, written in February, also noted that Muslims represent the largest non-Christian religious community in Britain. Although Muslims comprise only 3 percent of the British population of nearly 60 million, they have grown to 2 million from 1.6 million in seven years. The government projects the Muslim population will reach 2.2 million in the next census in 2011, the cable said.
Citing various government data, the cable painted a bleak picture of British Muslims, who tend to be poor, uneducated and unskilled and who live in overcrowded apartments.
The unemployment rate was 13 percent for Muslim men and 18 percent for Muslim women in 2004. The jobless rate was even worse for Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24, with 28 percent unemployed. More than two-thirds of Muslim households have more than five people.
Although 74 percent of Muslims were of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian or other Asian backgrounds, 70 percent identified themselves as British in the last census in 2001.
In 2008, Canada had a hotly contested parliamentary election, but no candidate bothered to comment much on the larger contest south of the border between Barack Obama and John McCain.
Scott Bellard, the political minister-counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, tried to explain why the U.S.-Canadian relationship, which boasts the largest bilateral trade in the world, was “off the table” during the campaign, ultimately won by the Conservatives led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
In a September classified cable to the State Department, Mr. Bellard cited “several key factors” that include, most prominently, “an almost inherent Canadian inferiority complex” with the United States.
In the diplomatic report released by WikiLeaks, he reminded Washington that U.S.-Canada trade tops $500 billion annually, that the two countries have the longest undefended border in the world, and that more than 200 million Canadians and Americans cross the border every year.
“Ultimately,” he added, “the U.S. is like the proverbial 900-pound gorilla in the midst of the Canadian federal election: overwhelming but too potentially menacing to acknowledge.”
- Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washington times.com.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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