Only 1 in 4 British Muslims believe Hamas carried out rape and murder on October 7, according to survey

The survey is the largest of its kind since Hamas invaded Israel six months ago


Protesters wearing fake blood make-up and holding placards take part in a demonstration "Rape is NOT resistance" in London, February 4, 2024 (Credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

Only 1 in 4 British Muslims believe that Hamas committed murder and rape in Israel on October 7, according to the largest survey conducted of British Muslims since the Israel-Hamas war began.

The survey, commissioned by the Henry Jackson Society, a counter-extremism think-tank, found that just under half of British Muslims, 46 per cent, said they sympathise with Hamas.

The findings arrive on the six-month anniversary of October 7, when Hamas invaded Israel and murdered some 1,200 Israelis and took a further 253 hostages, about 130 of whom are still believed to be held by the terror group in Gaza.

Asked whether Hamas committed murder and rape in Israel on October 7, only 24 per cent of British Muslims said they had, compared to 62 per cent of the wider public.

The report found that younger and well-educated Muslims were the most likely to think Hamas carried out no atrocities on October 7, with 47 per cent of 18–24-year-olds and 40 per cent of the university-educated.

The survey also found that over half of British Muslims, 52 per cent, want to make it illegal to show a picture of the Prophet Mohammed, and about a third, 32 per cent, wish to see Shariah law implemented in the UK.

Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism and the interfaith group Faith Matters, told the Sunday Telegraph that the findings are “shocking but also not shocking.”

He said: “The sense that Hamas did not conduct massacres and rapes in Israel is atrocious because it shows a closed-off mentality of anything emanating from Israel.”

The survey, carried out by polling company J L Partners, also found that 46 per cent of British Muslims say Jews have too much power over UK government policy (compared to 16 per cent of the general public) while 41 per cent said Jews have too much power in the media and 39 per cent said Jews have too much power in the UK’s financial system.

Mughal said the findings confirm that “a lot of work needs to be done to inform, challenge, and address old antisemitic tropes,” adding that a failure on the part of the government to invest in better guidance for teachers and education establishments risks “a social cohesion problem.”

39 per cent of British Muslims said Hamas did commit atrocities on October 7, with 37 per cent saying they did not know whether they had or not.

Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, said the findings was evidence of “the failure of counter-extremism policy over the years.”

He said there may be an “unwillingness to tackle this kind of extremism for fear of being labelled Islamophobic or racist. There is a reluctance to call it out in the same way that people are very happy to call our far-right extremism.

“The government needs to find a way of supporting and strengthening the voice of moderate Muslims and drive the extremist narrative to the side-lines.”

A government spokesperson told the Sunday Telegraph: “We have recently set out a series of measures which will promote social cohesion and counter religious hatred. Our plan will tackle division in our communities and ensure that we are protecting our democratic freedoms across the country.”

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