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Do Young British Muslims Support ‘Honour’ Violence?

A great article by Bob Pitt on more DailyMail Islamophobia. What’s most revealing and egregious is the clear lack of concern the Daily Mail has for factual accuracy, they will do anything it seems to demonize Islam and Muslims:

Do young British Muslims support ‘honour’ violence?

by Bob Pitt (Islamophobia-Watch)

Here is a classic piece of Islamophobic reporting by the Daily Mail, featuring the paper’s usual contempt for factual accuracy when it comes to coverage of the Muslim community.

Headlined “More than two thirds of young British Muslims believe ‘honour’ violence is acceptable, survey reveals”, the article begins: “Most young British Muslims support violence against women who ‘dishonour’ their families, a Panorama investigation will claim today.”

In reality the Panorama documentary Britain’s Crimes of Honour does nothing of the sort. The ComRes poll commissioned by Panorama, to which the Mail’s scaremongering headline refers, found that 69% of respondents agreed with the proposition that “Families should live according to the concept of ‘honour’, or ‘Izzat'”. That particular question made no reference at all to violence. Furthermore, the poll was conducted among British Asians of various faith communities. 70% of Muslim respondents said they agreed with living according to the concept of honour, but so did 79% of Sikhs, 64% of Hindus and 62% of Christians.

What the Panorama documentary claims, based on the ComRes survey, is that 18% of young British Asians believe that some forms of behaviour by women which could affect their family’s honour justify physical punishment. And even that figure is based on a one-sided reading of ambiguous findings.

In fact only 6% of respondents agreed with the proposition that “In certain circumstances, it can be right to physically punish a female member of the family if she brings dishonour to her family or community”. The figure was also 6% for respondents aged 16-24 and 7% for those aged 25-34. There were more Christians (8%) who agreed with this proposition than Muslims (6%).

The 18% figure was arrived at by presenting respondents with a number of possible “offences” by young women (disobeying their father, marrying someone unacceptable to the family or community etc) and then asking which of these actions respondents thought were “reasonable justifications for physical punishment”. 18% of British Asians in the 16-34 age bracket said they thought one or more of these actions could be regarded as “reasonable justifications”, three times more than those who thought it was “right” to carry out physical punishments.

Neither ComRes nor Panorama saw fit to try and explain this anomaly, preferring instead to emphasise the higher and discount the lower figure. An obvious explanation for the disparity, however, is that respondents might think that their family or community could regard certain actions as reasonable justifications for physical punishment while disapproving of such punishments themselves. Which puts a rather different complexion on it.

What seems to have happened here is that the Panorama documentary makers set out by assuming that support for “honour” based violence is rife within British Asian communities but found that the ComRes survey provided little support for this assumption. So the poll findings were not interpreted objectively but rather hyped up to suggest that there is solid evidence of widespread support for such violence.

As for the Daily Mail, it couldn’t even restrict itself to publicising Panorama’s dubious claims but had to invent its own.

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  • Abdul-Rahman

    @morgan

    “There were more Christians (8%) who agreed with this proposition than Muslims (6%).” More Christians in the poll in question said violence is acceptable in the situation being discussed.

    Islam forbids “honor killings” http://islam-qa.com/en/ref/101972/honor%20killing

    And there is no legitimate evidence to any supposed sizable amount of “honor killings”, that the sensationalistic Islamophobic Western mainstream media often prattles on about (even admitting themselves “we don’t have an official source”, etc).

    And also here is a good article from this website itself on the issue: http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/09/honor-killings-the-epidemic-that-isnt/

    If you want to mention violence in families or against women, there are tons of examples that can be sight among Christians both in the West (look at American domestic violence rates, most American’s and thus most who commit domestic violence of all types whether against spouses or children are by extension white Christians) and also outside the US (after considering human trafficking in the US, prostitution issues, sexual objectification of women, etc) some other examples of violence specifically towards women: some of the largest violence of all kinds against women has happened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. The Congo is almost entirely Christian (Western corporations also often back different warlords to get their greedy hands on different Congolese and other African natural resources like coltan for electronics). There are also large amounts of killing of women in the Mexican border town of Juarez (Mexico is almost all Catholic Christian), and many more examples could be given.

  • morgan

    Isnt the 6 % figure worrying.

    And Kahlid: How come no christians ever commit honor-killings. I have never heard of it,

  • Khalid

    According to the poll 94% of Muslims and 91% of Christians do NOT think there is ever a justification for honour killings. 3% of Muslims and Hindus think there IS a justification, and so do 4% of Christians and Sikhs.

    So according to the poll, Christians and Sikhs are actually more likely to justify honour killings than Muslims, and Hindus are as likely to justify them as Muslims. And there are 3% more Muslims who DON’T justify than they’re Christians. A more accurate headline would read:

    “British Christians more like to justify honour killings than British Muslims, survey reveals”

    Doesn’t have the same Islamophobic ring to it though, does it? It’s disgusting that in the so-called Age of Information, media gets away with such gross misreporting and outright lies (the article headline). I wonder if any of the Daily Mailers bothered to actually check the original poll’s results. I’m sure that the massive majority didn’t, if any did at all. People will believe anything media tells them.

    Anyway this is only poll, you can just make one up on the spot and no-one would know. This particular poll actually has somewhat favourable results for Muslims. Yet the Islamophobes still somehow manage to twist it. Anyway never let facts get in the way of a good story.

  • Abdul-Rahman

    Good article exposing those liars at the “Daily Mail”. You showed just how blatantly they lied; there “two-thirds” number was of people who as you said agreed with the statement that families should live according to the concept of honor which is completely correct the family should strive to all be good, upright people! And as you said there was no mention of any violence whatsoever, and as you showed the study they were even using (and lying about again anyway) surveyed British people of Asian origin and not just Muslims!

  • Al

    What a great job at shoddy reporting

  • JT

    Stupid Daily Mail.

    And that number for Muslims who support “physical violence” is very low at 6%. The Islamophobes will look at that and say — haha! So 6% of 1.5 billion is…. But they’re missing the point. Besides, more Christians support honour violence than Muslims (8%) so how’s about we play their game and extrapolate that figure for the world’s 2.1 billion Christians?

    The fact is that the majoirty of Muslims reject honour killings but the Islamophobes refuse to acknowledge that. They’d rather make a big deal of that teeny tiny minority (6%) and pretend that is a huge number when multiplied by 1.5 billion. Apart from demonstrating a flawed understanding of polls and statistics, this shows the Islamophobes’ desperation to incriminate all Muslims for the crimes of a few.

  • mindy1

    Sheesh, talk about misrepresenting the facts

  • Just Stopping By

    One of the good things about publicizing such lies or misrepresentations is that it can force changes. The current title of the article is “‘Honour’ violence is acceptable, say one in five young British Asians.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2117003/Honour-violence-acceptable-say-young-British-Asians.html. I can’t see anything where they mention or apologize for the earlier incorrect headline.

    Nor does the article say that the results for Muslims are pretty much the same as for other religions. The poll results are here: http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/BBC_Blakeway_Honour_Crime_Feb12.pdf.

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