France: Survey shows huge gap between Muslims and general public over Charlie Hebdo attacks

A new survey has demonstrated the huge gap between the opinions of French Muslims and the wider community over the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The survey, commissioned by the Islamophibic, racist magazine, shows that while 88% of the French public condemn the perpetrators of the attacks, the percentage drops to 72% among Muslims.

The poll comes as 14 people have gone on trial this week accused of helping the two attackers carry out their gun rampage on January 7, 2015.

Twelve people were killed in the attack and five more died in a related attack in Paris days later. The killings happened after the satirical magazine published blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

The survey also found that:

  • 10% of French Muslims condemn the perpetrators but share some of their motivations – a proportion three times higher than non-Muslims.
  • 5% of French Muslims say they do not condemn the killers, against barely 3% of non-Muslims.
  • 13% of Muslims say they are “indifferent” to the killers – a proportion three times higher than that observed among non-Muslims (4%).
  • The proportion of French Muslims expressing no condemnation of the Charlie Hebdo killers is twice the national average – 18% compared to 8%.

The survey also shows that around a quarter of young Muslims under 25 do not explicitly condemn the perpetrators, and 12% condemn them while admitting to sharing some of their motivations.

In addition, findings show that a clear majority of French public opinion (59%) believes that Charlie Hebdo was right to publish the blasphemous cartoons “in the name of freedom of expression.” On the other hand, 69% of Muslims believe the publication was wrong.

Only 29% of the French public understand the indignation aroused by the publication, but the majority of Muslims overwhelmingly share this indignation (73%).

41% of Muslims declare that they would not have participated in the minute’s silence organised in tribute to the victims of the attack – a proportion twice as high as among all French people (20%).

And Muslims are also a majority to say that they would not have participated in the marches organised under the slogan “Je suis Charlie” (61%), compared to a significantly higher proportion than that measured for all French people (47%).

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