British Muslims have a “deeply worrying” belief in conspiracy theories and almost half would not go to the police if they knew someone with links to Islamic State (IS), a major study has found.
Attitudes towards many issues, such as the NHS, unemployment and immigration, are broadly in line with the rest of the population, according to the Policy Exchange study.
But 31 per cent of Muslims thought the US government was behind the 9/11 terror attacks and 7 per cent blamed Jews while just 4 per cent believed al-Qaeda was responsible, the think-tank said.
It found that 26 per cent of Muslims did not believe in extremism and 48 per cent would not turn to the police if someone close to them became involved with people linked to Syrian terrorism, the research revealed.
Labour’s Khalid Mahmood said the findings made clear that British Muslims were no different in their views in many areas to the rest of the population but raised concerns over the significant numbers who doubted the existence of extremism. In a foreword to the report, the shadow Europe minister said: “Even more startling is the fact that so many British Muslims seem ready to entertain wild and outlandish conspiracy theories about the way the world works, believing that dark forces are at work to ‘do us down’ as Muslims.
“From the attacks of 9/11, down to the more recent conflict in Syria, too many people seem ready to believe that these events are being deliberately organised and manipulated – whether by the American Government, Jews, or some other force – with the express intention of damaging Muslims.
“Of course, there is no denying that for many British Muslims, problems of racism, harassment and Islamophobia are a serious cause of worry, he said.
“But it is deeply troubling that this seems to have led a not-insignificant minority to believe that the world is at the mercy of the machinations of dark, anti-Muslim forces.”
The report is based on research carried out by polling company ICM with more than 3,000 people.