Youtube and Radical Muslim Clerics

Last week Roshonara Choudhry, a 21-year-old British Muslim woman, was convicted at the Old Bailey of the attempted murder, on 14 May, of Stephen Timms, Labour Member of Parliament for East Ham, in retaliation for his endorsement of the Iraq War.

During her trial it emerged that she had become radicalized by watching the teachings of extremist Islamic preachers on Youtube, including the Yemen-based Anwar al-Awlaki, dubbed the ­‘spiritual leader’ of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The case prompted YouGov to include a question in its latest online poll for the Sunday Times, conducted on 4 and 5 November among a representative sample of 1,954 adult Britons aged 18 and over.

Noting that Youtube had voluntarily withdrawn al-Awlaki’s speeches from its site, YouGov asked its panelists whether Youtube should also be made to remove all speeches and videos from other Islamic clerics suspected of radicalizing British Muslims.

Three-quarters of respondents felt that Youtube should do this, with 14% saying it should not and 12% having no clear opinion. Conservative voters (82%) were more inclined to favour removal of the speeches than supporters of the other two main parties, and women somewhat more than men.

However, as with most British polls touching on Islam and Muslims, the most significant demographic trend was by age. Whereas 57% of 18-24s backed the removal of the offending speeches, the proportion climbed steadily through the other age cohorts, to reach 87% among the over-60s. Conversely, opponents of the ban decreased from 23% to 7% across the age spectrum.

Full data tabulations for this survey, which also included a battery of other questions relating to security and terrorism matters, will be found at:

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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