Just a quarter of British Muslims say Hamas definitely committed murder and rape in Israel on October 7 – and nearly 40% say they DIDN’T, shock poll reveals

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Written By Maya Cantina

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Three out of four British Muslims do not believe Hamas carried out murder and rape in the October 7 attacks in Israel, a shock new poll suggests.

The largest survey of its kind since the current Israel-Hamas conflict began also shows 46 per cent of those questioned saying they sympathised with the militant group. 

The findings come on the six-month anniversary of the October 7 massacre which saw Hamas terrorists kill about 1,200 citizens and take 253 hostage.

Interfaith leaders say the results show how ‘a lot of work needs to be done to inform, challenge, and address old anti-Semitic tropes that are still circulating’.

The survey was commissioned by the Henry Jackson Society, a counter-extremism think-tank, and carried out by polling firm J L Partners.

Pro-Palestine protesters held placards and flags outside the Home Office in London on Friday

Mourners were today pictured visiting the site in Re'im, Israel, where revellers were kidnapped and killed in Hamas's terror attacks on the Nova musical festival last October 7

Mourners were today pictured visiting the site in Re’im, Israel, where revellers were kidnapped and killed in Hamas’s terror attacks on the Nova musical festival last October 7

Soldiers were seen visiting a bomb shelter there, on the six-month anniversary of the massacre

Soldiers were seen visiting a bomb shelter there, on the six-month anniversary of the massacre

When asked whether Hamas committed murder and rape on October 7, just 24 per cent of British Muslims said they did – in contrast to 62 per cent of the wider public.

In the October 7 attack, Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel and killed about 1,200 people – mostly civilians – while taking an estimated 250 hostage.

Militants still hold about 130 hostages, a fourth of them believed to be dead.

Most of the others were released during a week-long ceasefire in November.

The war has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

About 80 per cent of Gaza’s population have been driven from their homes and a quarter face starvation.

Israel presented to the International Court of Justice in January horrifying footage of civilians being slaughtered and mutilated by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

An introduction to the film shown at The Hague told how more than 3,000 militants ‘invaded Israel from the land, sea and air’ in over 20 communities near the border and at the Nova music festival in Re’im.

Today’s poll says 39 per cent of British Muslims said Hamas did not commit atrocities, while 37 per cent said they did not know whether they had or had not.

Younger and well-educated Muslims appeared the most likely to think Hamas did not commit atrocities that day – including 47 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 and 40 per cent of university graduates.

Hamas fighters circumvented Israel's border with the Gaza Strip by flying in via paraglider, according to the Israeli military (pictured: a paraglider crossing into Israel)

Hamas fighters circumvented Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip by flying in via paraglider, according to the Israeli military (pictured: a paraglider crossing into Israel)

More than 250 hostages were taken back into Gaza after Hamas' strike into southern Israel

More than 250 hostages were taken back into Gaza after Hamas’ strike into southern Israel 

Israeli civilians were taken off the streets, transferred across the border and held captive

Israeli civilians were taken off the streets, transferred across the border and held captive

Researchers also found just over half, or 52 per cent, of British Muslims believed it should be illegal to show pictures of the Prophet Mohammed, as opposed to 16 per cent of the overall public.

Some 32 per cent or almost a third of British Muslims questioned said they backed Shariah law in the UK in comparison to nine per cent of the general public, the Telegraph reported.

The poll also indicated 46 per cent of British Muslims and 16 per cent across the board felt Jewish people have too much power over UK government policy.

Some 41 per cent of British Muslims said Jews have too much power in the media and 39 per cent when it came to Britain’s financial system. 

Fiyaz Mughal, founder of interfaith groups Tell Mama, Faith Matters and Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, described the results as ‘shocking but also not shocking’.

He said: ‘Hamas is an Islamist extremist and terrorist group and has been terrorising Gazans, Israelis and liberals within society for decades.

Dr Alan Mendoza is executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, a think-tank specialising in counter-extremism

Dr Alan Mendoza is executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, a think-tank specialising in counter-extremism

‘The sense that Hamas did not conduct massacres and rapes in Israel is atrocious because it shows a closed-off mentality to anything emanating from Israel.’

‘The findings confirm that a lot of work needs to be done to inform, challenge, and address old anti-Semitic tropes that are still circulating among some of my co-religionists.

‘The Government has got to provide better guidance for teachers, schools and education establishments. The investment needs to happen as soon as possible because we are at real risk of a social cohesion problem.’

The Henry Jackson Society’s executive director Alan Mendoza criticised what he called ‘the failure of counter-extremism policy over the years’.

He said: ‘What is probably going wrong is an unwillingness to tackle this kind of extremism for fear of being labelled Islamophobic or racist.

The aftermath of an attack on the Supernova music festival by Hamas gunmen last October

The aftermath of an attack on the Supernova music festival by Hamas gunmen last October

CCTV footage showed gunmen dragging a body and throwing it into the back of a car in Israel

CCTV footage showed gunmen dragging a body and throwing it into the back of a car in Israel

Clipped video also depicted a Hamas fighter shooting a dog dead during the October 7 attack

Clipped video also depicted a Hamas fighter shooting a dog dead during the October 7 attack

A man with Hamas sets fire to an Israeli residence during the October 7 atrocities

A man with Hamas sets fire to an Israeli residence during the October 7 atrocities

‘There is a reluctance to call it out in the same way that people are very happy to call out 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 sidelines.’

A Government spokesperson said: ‘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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