Gene Expression

Islam on Campus: A survey of UK student opinions. N = 632 for Muslims. Remember that this is an elite sample of the youth insofar as they’re polling university students.

i-e6fb44af3850d19ac80fc9b5e86318af-apostateislamsurvey.jpg

You might wonder what exactly Sharia law is in regarding to apostasy. Perhaps these students have a different interpretation than the majority consensus that apostates should be killed. Well….

i-bd0683141e1450875db8fddf76a34849-deathtoapostates.jpg

In other words, 1 out of 33 Muslim British university students believe that apostates should be killed. Little wonder that many Europeans feel a little Islamophobia….

Additionally,
* Muslims have far less respect for atheists than non-Muslims
* Muslims have far less respect for homosexuals than non-Muslims
* Muslims are much more likely to think that it is acceptable to kill in the name of religion than non-Muslims

Details below….

i-279f40e3000befa97adad90a9fb9b588-atheistmuslimsurvey.jpg

i-db0094911da3aa3cfdd6fd2186458193-homosexualsurvey.jpg

i-e1fdcd3481740863157078132a1c7a2b-killnameofreligionsurvey.jpg

Of course, we know that these sorts of illiberal inclinations are only the outcome of racism directed at Muslims from Islamophobic white Europeans.

Comments

  1. #1 The Ridger
    August 23, 2008

    One thing I wonder: you say these are “elite” – but in, for instance, the US Orthodox Jewish community it’s precisely the most religious who are allowed to attend secular universities to learn necessary professions. Perhaps the sample isn’t skewed the way we’d think, but instead in the other direction?

  2. #2 razib
    August 23, 2008

    Perhaps the sample isn’t skewed the way we’d think, but instead in the other direction?

    well, i wouldn’t be surprised if the tards in the muslim community assimilate lower class british values, and so by necessity are less “islamic.” and in some nations radical islamists are notoriously more educated than typical muslims (in continental europe this doesn’t seem to be true though).

  3. #3 Onkel Bob
    August 23, 2008

    Re: Diagram 51, Does anyone else see the stupidity of asking whether a Muslim is an atheist? Ummm, doesn’t the self-identifying label of Muslim mean the person is a believer? It’s on par with asking the pope whether he is an atheist!
    I always wonder about polls. DrugMonkey, The Framing Society, and other esteemed bloggers on the SciBlog community have ready answers that social “scientists” have mechanisms in place that identify and correct the deception respondents introduce into the equation. I do not share that confidence. IMO, the more controversial the subject, the less accurate the poll. I say this because I believe people will never reveal the truth if they suspect their opinion is against “the norm” or describes them as a racist, bigot, infidel. Even anonymously, some people have a natural suspicion about the motives of the poll takers. Watch this November when McCain wins in a “surprising” upset. It will be a surprise because the polls will have Obama ahead by oh so much, but the reality will be that many will deceive the polls because they do not want to be perceived as racist.
    And sometimes the poll takers are simply dense as black holes. When I told a poll taker that no action by either major party (I’m an anarchist) could entice me to vote for their candidates, she continued with the litany of prepared questions. In other words she did not listen to my answer, she simply recorded the answers. The person interpreting the answers would be unable to interpret the responses unless they also understood my stance against the political parties. By inserting their assumptions – that one must vote for one of two parties – they distort the reality.

  4. #4 Ethan
    August 23, 2008

    If you asked a sample of Jews if they were atheists you’d get a fairly large fraction who would say yes. In the US, at least, that fraction would be substantially greater than the population at large.

    Do atheists from Muslim backgrounds self-identify as Muslims?

  5. #5 eric
    August 23, 2008

    I’m european, and my feeling is that the interpretation of this pool, and overall the link to islamophobia is a bit twisted.

    Salafism ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi ) is the current hate machine trying to convert all muslims to their point of view.

    This pool only shows the propagation of this hate machine. It has nothing to do with islam.

    Forcing the association muslims < -> salafists like you did, and like this pool did, is the best way to help salafists.

    They should thank you for that.

    islamophobia is much much simpler than that : it’s the new name of racism against arabs ! Attacking their skins was stupid, and makes YOU the bad person, attacking their religion (in particular the extremists among them) makes THEM the bad people ! nice racist shot !

    shoud we talk about christians in USA ? and have pools about evolution ? (because it’s well known, all christian are creationists, or are willing to be, isn’t it ? )

  6. #6 Becca
    August 23, 2008

    1/33 is only true if we assume the statement from diagram 31 is independent from the statement in diagram 32.

    Fail statistics much?

    Please, abuse actual intolerant Muslims if you must, but don’t abuse the numbers, or our intelligence!

  7. #7 liko
    August 23, 2008

    Eric,

    FYI: The British muslim sharia law proponents are more likely to be Deobandi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deobandi) than Salafi.

    Deobandis are sometimes characterized as Salafi but have their origins among South Asian Sufis and have many theological differences with Arab Salafi reformists.

  8. #8 Bob
    August 23, 2008

    Re: Becca

    1/33 is only true if we assume the statement from diagram 31 is independent from the statement in diagram 32.

    Please tell me more. My reading above is that in the first question, some answered “Sharia Law.” Then, in the subsequent question, that subset that answered “Sharia Law” was asked, “So, you mean like kill them?” and some said, “Yup.”

    Thus, ~1/33 were in favor of killing apostates.

    Am I wrong?

    Cheers,
    –Bob

  9. #9 liko
    August 23, 2008

    “1/33 is only true if we assume the statement from diagram 31 is independent from the statement in diagram 32.”

    Huh ?? Quite the opposite actually.

    0.06(apostates->sharia) * 0.5 (sharia->death) = 0.03 ~= 1/33

    This poll does show a relatively widespread lack of tolerance for freedom of belief amongst Muslims.

    Nevertheless I do feel that if he means to use this to explain European Islamophobia, the argument is tenuous at best.

  10. #10 liko
    August 23, 2008

    Just to clarify. 0.06(apostates->sharia) of that group 50% (sharia->death).

    If the questions were independent it wouldn’t be true.

  11. #11 Russell
    August 23, 2008

    eric asks, “shoud we talk about christians in USA?”

    Yes, of course. And if you read this blogs much, you’ll see in fact Christians are very much discussed. Especially the creationists, and their opposition to science.

    We realize that the major religions split into a variety of sects, that beliefs vary even among those who belong to the same official sect. Not all Christians are creationists. Not even all Southern Baptists. One purpose of polls is precisely to get a statistical handle on such things.

  12. #12 travc
    August 23, 2008

    Heard an interesting argument wrt Sharia law recently. Historically, Sharia is far more mutable than most people pretend, and closer to a common law system. In the short term it is resistant to appearing to change (since it is supposed to be based on immutable truths), but so is common law.

    So instead of arguing against Sharia law, it may be more effective to argue that the more reactionary elements just don’t understand Sharia. That isn’t very appealing to a secularist like me, but could serve well to make Sharia not stand in conflict with common law, at least most people’s understanding of Sharia.

    Here in the US we have plenty of bible thumpers who argue for a more theocratic law… but the vast majority of even the very religious view the secular law as mostly conforming to their ‘religious traditions’. We get wedge stuff like abortion and stem-cell research, but very little calling for stoning adulterers and other such absurd crap much less the outright supplanting of common law. Sharia is no less odious than ‘biblical law’. It really depends on the interpretation you are talking about.

  13. #13 Onkel Bob
    August 23, 2008

    Do atheists from Muslim backgrounds self-identify as Muslims?

    The term Muslim means one who submits; i.e., it is synonymous with believer. You cannot be a Muslim and an atheist, they are opposing ideas.
    A Jewish person is Jewish because they adhere to the Hebrew faith. Again, you can’t be an atheist and Jewish at the same time. My parents were Roman Catholics (well at least my mother was) but that doesn’t make me a Roman Catholic. Only If I chose to join the faith and follow its practices would I be a Roman Catholic. True Scotsman argument be damned, the religion of your parents doesn’t make you a member of that faith, nor does the religion of those around you. Islam is not a ethnicity or nationality, it is a religion. It is not conferred upon you at birth, you pick it up at a later date.

  14. #14 razib
    August 23, 2008

    1/33 is only true if we assume the statement from diagram 31 is independent from the statement in diagram 32.

    stop being a fucking dumbshit becca (IOW, read closely before you open your mouth). they asked the 6% who said they should be punished according to sharia what that meant to them. by definition those who don’t believe that sharia should be applied don’t believe in killing apostates. ergo, 1/33.

  15. #15 razib
    August 23, 2008

    You cannot be a Muslim and an atheist, they are opposing ideas.

    there are people who identify as muslims who are atheists. don’t get all axiomatic about religious definitions, these things are personal and people have their own premises. granted, the number of self-identified jews who are atheists in the USA is around 20-25% last i checked, while the number who are muslim is probably WAY less. but there are people who admit to not believing in god who say they are christian of some sort too. i don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. e.g., in the USA according to the pew religious survey 10% of self identified jews and 5% of self identified muslims don’t believe in god.
    http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#

  16. #16 razib
    August 23, 2008

    or our intelligence!

    btw, in light of your tarded comment, a big LOL.

  17. #17 Watt de Fawke
    August 23, 2008

    The whole point of sharia is to get away with whatever you want, arguing that it is god’s law, not your own mental problems at work. This is analogous to ‘crimes against nature’, not meaning violating physical laws, but elevating your own prejudices to godhood.

  18. #18 Onkel Bob
    August 23, 2008

    these things are personal and people have their own premises. [sic]

    How very post-modern of you. Does this mean I can describe myself as an African-American because my distant ancestors once migrated out out of Africa?
    What value is a definition if it only means something “personal.” You either believe in a supernatural being or you don’t believe in it. My point is the label is incorrect. Is it your contention that some definitions are so broad that they are essentially meaningless? Why do they have the word “apostate” to describe someone who abandoned Islam if you can be both Muslim and atheist? Has not the atheist abandoned (or not picked up) religion?
    This is not denying the existence of a person’s belief or the existence of a person, this is about correctly identifying in an objective manner a status or position. At its most basic level, to be Muslim one must embrace the five tenets of Islam – the first being an affirmation of the existence of Allah and Allah’s primacy, singularity and supremacy. If you’re an atheist, you’re denying that premise. Call yourself whatever you want, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Confucianist and so on. However, if you disbelieve the fundamentals of the religion that means you’re talking out your hat.

  19. #19 razib
    August 23, 2008

    However, if you disbelieve the fundamentals of the religion that means you’re talking out your hat.

    there are no fundamentals aside from what religious people believe are fundamentals. your logic is faulty because you presuppose a common set of axioms which are universally accorded validity; they aren’t.

    post-modernism has a tendency to privilege individual human perception, opinion and subjective interpretation above all else. which is exactly why a post-modern lens isn’t totally inappropriate to religion on a personal level. on the level of aggregates you can make statistical generalizations, but no, i don’t believe in any apodictic inferences about religion being universally applicable. definitions about religion only have instrumental value.

  20. #20 razib
    August 23, 2008

    this is about correctly identifying in an objective manner a status or position.

    p.s. religion is *subjective* not *objective*. many atheists make the mistake and assume that it is *objective*. it ain’t. at least it ain’t for most people.

  21. #21 Russell
    August 23, 2008

    Onkel Bob:

    A Jewish person is Jewish because they adhere to the Hebrew faith. Again, you can’t be an atheist and Jewish at the same time.

    That’s not entirely correct. “Jewish” is one of these fuzzy categories that is an overlay of several notions. One can be Jewish because of religious affiliation, or entirely because of familial and cultural heritage. There are many people who view themselves as Jewish, and who are seen by others as Jewish, who are also atheist. Just as one can be Cherokee, without adhering to Cherokee traditional religion.

    It’s interesting that in our multicultural society, ethnic identification tends to fade over generations, when not reinforced by religion. But that wasn’t always the case. And nonetheless, there it is.

  22. #22 Ian Gould
    August 23, 2008

    Is this a sufficiently large sample to be statistically valid?

    3% of 632 is 19. A couple of errors in comprehension or transcription would shift the results significantly.

    Were the Muslims students, all British or did they include foreign students? How about the control group? Africans, including non-Muslim Africans, are significantly less tolerant of homosexuals than are Europeans.

    For that matter, is there an issue of selection bias here? How did the interviewers identify Muslim students? If students simply self-identified what is the likelihood that some Muslims preferred not to state their religion given anti-Muslim sentiment?

    Muslim extremism is a real and serious problem – which is why it’s important to get reliable accurate information about it.

  23. #23 razib
    August 23, 2008

    Muslim extremism is a real and serious problem – which is why it’s important to get reliable accurate information about it.

    1) i know a lot about this topic; the numbers are broadly plausible, though some of the details on the margins are interesting.

    2) good questions. the next step for a genuinely interested reader would be to avail oneself of resources such as
    http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/index.html
    http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=254
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/27397/Values-Questions-Set-European-Muslims-Apart.aspx
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6309983.stm
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article682585.ece

    hard to gauge accuracy when you’re ignorant, right?

  24. #24 razib
    August 23, 2008

    That’s not entirely correct. “Jewish” is one of these fuzzy categories that is an overlay of several notions. One can be Jewish because of religious affiliation, or entirely because of familial and cultural heritage. There are many people who view themselves as Jewish, and who are seen by others as Jewish, who are also atheist. Just as one can be Cherokee, without adhering to Cherokee traditional religion.

    more precisely, the vast majority of jews accept judaism as a nation as well as a religion. according to most religious jews (excluding reform jews) if one’s mother is a jew, one is a jew, no matter the details of one’s faith.

    but as i said above, all this is subjective and depends on who you ask. assertions that imply airtight logic are premised on faulty assumptions; religion isn’t about logic dudes.

  25. #25 david
    August 24, 2008

    Interesting, and disturbing, data.

    As to atheist Muslims, I’ve personally known a couple atheist Muslims. They were both well educated Turks from Istanbul. Nice guys. Engineer types. I used to drink and chase women with them in college. Who knows, maybe they went all fundamentalist when they got older. Happened to several Catholics and Baptists I’ve known. But they called themselves muslims.

    I myself am an atheist Catholic. I was raised Catholic, but stopped believing as a teen. But I don’t make some public dramatic break because that would cause family trouble, and there’s no point in hurting family members I care about.

    The way I explain it to friends/girlfriends is — the church I don’t go to on Sunday is a Catholic church. It doesn’t occur to me not to go to the Baptist church, or Jewish temple, or some mosque. But on Sundays when I’m watching sports on TV, I’m aware that I’m not going to church.

    Still when I meet other Catholics I do feel a cultural bond. We have a shared cultural experience – and I often find I get along easier with fellow Catholics.

  26. #26 B.B.
    August 24, 2008

    razib says:
    Of course, we know that these sorts of illiberal inclinations are only the outcome of racism directed at Muslims from Islamophobic white Europeans.

    erik says:
    I’m european, and my feeling is that the interpretation of this pool, and overall the link to islamophobia is a bit twisted.

    liko says:
    Nevertheless I do feel that if he means to use this to explain European Islamophobia, the argument is tenuous at best.

    Sarcasm doesn’t translate well into the written word.

  27. #27 zy
    August 24, 2008

    Good red-blooded Islamophobia requires defining 1 out of 3 Muslims as extremists.
    1 out of 33 makes you a librul apologist for terror. ;)

  28. #28 Reality Bites
    August 25, 2008

    Razib, when are you going to admit that one can talk about the teachings of Islam in an objective way? That is, if we call something a religion, we can understand and see what it teaches. Now, someone’s calling himself a Muslim (self ID) may or may not have anything to do with [the teachings of] Islam — because large portions of most religions are people who are ignorant, lazy, or stupid — they don’t know what they are talking about. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that don’t follow by basic logic. There are undeniable aspects/behaviors that exist that would preclude people from being Islamic due to its teachings. Herein lies the problem: There is much laxity in certain traditional elements (ie wearing a hijab, niqab, etc.) but there isn’t with drinking alcohol, or “leaving your religion” or what happens with testimony or inheritance. That is, there are grounds on which you can only legitimately argue one side — there is no backing for another (ie changing your religion; all schools of jurisprudence agree). Then you have someone “crazy” like Bin Laden, but his arguments cannot be defeated theologically — so no one tries. Unfortunately, that spells bad news for the world because it hints at the obvious: THIS AIN’T going away.

  29. #29 razib
    August 25, 2008

    Razib, when are you going to admit that one can talk about the teachings of Islam in an objective way?

    yes.

    . That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that don’t follow by basic logic. There are undeniable aspects/behaviors that exist that would preclude people from being Islamic due to its teachings.

    no.

    from an instrumental perspective i think it is really unfruitful to view islam, or any religion, as a propositional system derived from axioms. in others words, I THINK IT IS TOTALLY INACCURATE TO ASSUME THAT RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS ARE FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT BASIC LOGIC!!!!!!!!!! (did i make myself clear this time?) rather, religion is a fuzzy cluster of values within character space. e.g., *nearly all* muslims believe that alcohol is forbidden. but not all muslims, seeing as how some sufi orders (e.g., the bekteshi order) utilize it in their rituals.

    in characterizing muslims in aggregates you can make objective generalizations. but i don’t believe there’s any point in explaining to someone how “they’re not a real muslim” because they don’t adhere to tenets X, Y and Z which are necessary for real muslims…unless you perceive yourself to be a “real muslim.” the utility of a definition doesn’t mean you need to force everyone else to fit into your semantic boxes.

    p.s. operationally you have to make population level characterizations in public policy so you can ignore minority groups and accommodate numerous factions.

  30. #30 razib
    August 25, 2008

    btw, to be clear i was once one of those atheists who read up on religion and fancied myself a taxonomist who could distinguish the “real” from the “nominal” religionists. but this is a ridiculous case of using the master’s tools to tear down the master’s house; only religious people should really care who the “real” religious people are. i think nonbelievers are better off leaving the disputes of who is a fill-in-the-blank to the fill-in-the-blanks and just use ad hoc definitions on a case by case basis. trying to understand religion *a priori* on the terms of religious axioms is just useless. leave it to the thomists.

  31. #31 Reality Bites
    August 25, 2008

    To be fair, I would like to address your CAPS. I didn’t say that nor did I hint at it. My point is that we can see what islamic followers believe. If we couldn’t, they wouldn’t be called islamic. At the very least we can see what the consistent traditional teachings have been for thousand(s) of years. Your sufi example is a red herring. They are like the Mormons of Christianity — they aren’t Christians. Which brings up the point and why the quote below isn’t realistic, actually it’s somewhat dangerous. The main question is to ask, “Can sufis make a good case that they are islamic?” You must grant that one side can make a better case and in some parts one can be totally supported by numerous examples (hadith, tafseer, etc.) both sides accept while the other may not. You like to grant equivalence to all claims — this isn’t reality nor does it portray the real world responsibly.

    < >

    With this attitude, you can’t critically assess a religion from the outside. How then can the US fight the war on terror? If on islamic grounds, bin laden has the best arguments, isn’t he more true and accurate than the others? At the very least his understanding will never go away if the others truly believe in the precepts of their faith. For this reason, it is very dangerous … and why no [meaningful] others have condemned terrorism to a great degree. You know as well as I that the leaders are the teachers and the laypeople don’t know crap about their religions. Every prestigious islamic university in the world (ie al azhar) teaches things no one on this board believes in. Should we leave it to them and just hope they don’t use it???

  32. #32 razib
    August 25, 2008

    My point is that we can see what islamic followers believe.

    yes.

    If on islamic grounds, bin laden has the best arguments, isn’t he more true and accurate than the others?

    no.

    At the very least his understanding will never go away if the others truly believe in the precepts of their faith.

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You know as well as I that the leaders are the teachers and the laypeople don’t know crap about their religions. Every prestigious islamic university in the world (ie al azhar) teaches things no one on this board believes in. Should we leave it to them and just hope they don’t use it???

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. #33 razib
    August 25, 2008

    religion is not a contingent propositional structure determined by premises. therefore, i do not believe it is relevant to argue about the roots of those premises since there is no process of entailment. one make generalizations about religion proximately, but it is useless to derive those generalizations from propositional structures.

    christianity accepts slavery. except when it rejects it.

    islam accept slavery. except when it rejects it.

    buddhism demands clerical celibracy. except when it doesn’t.

    buddhism is non-violent. except when it isn’t.

  34. #34 Samia
    August 25, 2008

    My sister and I are ex-Muslim atheists, and our parents are kind of over it because we’ve always been such great kids. I identify as Muslim when meeting other desis just because (in my experience) it speaks to the way I was raised rather than my actual beliefs. My parents’ Islam is more cultural than truly spiritual. And it’s kinda wrong, but I sometimes feel like admitting I’m atheist in front of other Muslims may reflect badly on my mom and dad’s parenting skills. So I tend to just find ways to contradict stupid religious statements in a vague-but-telling way, which is a lot of work. Did I mention I don’t hang out with a ton of Muslims?

    I have had people tell me I can’t be atheist because my name is Muslim. That’s always an entertaining conversation.

  35. #35 razib
    August 25, 2008

    samia, sounds like someone needs dawkinsian consciousness raising! ;-) personally, i always state i’m an atheist when a brown person states i am a muslim because of my name (sometimes these people will add the predicate that i’m an ‘atheist muslim’).

  36. #36 Brian Schmidt
    August 25, 2008

    Ditto to what Ian Gould said above – the margin of error when your sample is 19 out of 632 will be huge. You can’t draw much in the way of conclusions except that a very small but non-zero percentage of Muslims claim they agree with with execution of apostates.

  37. #37 Samia
    August 25, 2008

    If someone is going to *tell* me I’m Muslim, then yes, I’ll explain my position. If someone has the decency to actually ask me, I may say something like “my family is Muslim” and hope they don’t continue needling me. I generally want random brown askers to leave me alone (and these folks are generally random, but I try to be super nice to the sweet older people and not scare them with the atheism thing). No idea why people feel so comfortable walking up to me and asking personal questions, though. Like we’re all family or something. Fuck that.

    The other day I unwisely decided to play nice and answer some dude at an ice cream shop when he asked where I was from. He then proceeded to TEST MY FUCKING BANGLA. Listen, jackass, you’re here to make me a fucking milkshake. Goddamn. Maybe next time someone does this, I’ll fake a Southern accent and yell something about this being America…

  38. #38 razib
    August 25, 2008

    The other day I unwisely decided to play nice and answer some dude at an ice cream shop when he asked where I was from. He then proceeded to TEST MY FUCKING BANGLA.

    at least it is bengali. hindi speakers often test my hindi, which i lack ;-)

  39. #39 Samia
    August 25, 2008

    This same guy also said something in Hindi, like he was testing to see if I was lying about not knowing it. What the hell. Hindi/Urdu always sounded kinda country to me, but I may take a class next year so I can attempt to speak with my Dad’s side of the family…

  40. #40 SIR
    August 28, 2008

    Religions use political/military tactics when social/moral codes allow group discrimination to impact against them. Anarchists or Amish have ‘ withdrawal’ symptoms; Jews [often secular] recreated their state to create a geographical refuge for all,- Tribal/clan identity makes for a rich, confusing, fun and infuriatingly irrational mix. Its a wonder we can trade/ order ice cream –thank G-D for science/economics!

  41. #41 Huh
    August 28, 2008

    So wait. Because 3% of Muslim University students believe it’s ok to kill someone who has left the religion, it’s justifiable to be an Islamophobe? 3%? Really?