Author: Federation of Students Islamic Societies (FOSIS)
Release Date: August 2005
Source: No longer available on the website
The Muslim Student Survey, Voice of Muslim Students – a report into the attitudes and perceptions of Muslim students following the July 7th London attacks.
It is estimated that there are about 90,000 Muslims students in further and higher education in the UK. A survey with a sample size of 401 was conducted by Britain’s mainstream Muslim student body, FOSIS, in August 2005. The published report provides a valuable benchmark on young persons’ attitudes and feelings post the bombings of 7th July, and to the credit of all concerned, frank questions were asked and frank results have now been placed in the public domain. The FOSIS report is structured around five sections: British Muslim Identity; Attitudes towards life in Britain including the impact of the terrorist attacks; Understanding and perception of Islam; Extremism including views on how the causes can be tackled; Government Policy, particularly foreign policy and anti-terror legislation; Muslim leadership and organisations.
For the majority, there was no “conflict of loyalty” between their British identity and ties to the global Muslim Ummah. The survey quotes a nineteen year old female student from Scotland: “”[There is no conflict because] Islam teaches us to respect the country we live in and follow its laws, where they do not conflict with our religion’s rules. Since all laws are compatible with Islam (democracy, laws governing behaviour and conduct) there is no conflict in following them. You can live in Britain without agreeing 100% with what your government is doing, as we have the option of freedom of speech. You can still be true to your religion, and follow God’s laws”.
The psychological impact of the bombings can be judged by this finding: before 7th July, 83% of respondents felt proud and comfortable to be Muslim in Britain, but this fell to 52% following the London attacks. On Islamophobia, the survey notes, “Almost 1 in 2 Muslim students have personal experience of Islamophobia, over 75% of which is direct and mostly verbal. More than half of these (59%) said they have experienced Islamophobia at least 3 times. Worryingly, 25% of all incidents are reported to be occurring on campus. This could possibly help explain why 30% of Muslim students are feeling isolated from other students.
On Extremism, it notes, “The overwhelming majority of Muslim students unequivocally condemn the London attacks, with only 4% failing to do so. On suspecting someone is going to carry out a terrorist attack, almost three-quarters of our respondents said they would immediately go to the police, and of the remainder, 48% said they would do so after trying to first talk the person out of it. 9% of those who would not inform the police, felt they could not go to the police because they couldn’t trust them or they feared them. The problem of extremism on campuses has also been grossly over-estimated, with 97% of students failing to report that they had experienced extremism pertaining to violence on campus”.