A third of Muslim students in Britain believe killing someone in the name of religion is justified, a new poll claims.
The survey found that extreme Islamist ideology has a profound influence on a significant minority of Muslims on campuses across the country.
The findings will concern police chiefs, the security services and ministers, who are struggling with radicalisation among Muslim communities.
The YouGov poll was conducted for the Right-wing think tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion, at 12 universities, including Imperial College and Kings College London. It also found:
- 40 per cent support the introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
- a third back the notion of a worldwide Islamic caliphate (state) based on sharia law
- 40 per feel it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely
- 24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
- a quarter have little or no respect for homosexuals.
Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was. Of these, 4 per cent said killing could be justified to “promote or preserve” religion, while 28 per cent said it was acceptable if that religion were under attack.
There was also sympathy for the view that Muslim soldiers in the Armed Forces should be allowed to opt out of operations in Muslim countries, with 57 per cent agreeing.
The report’s authors found that Islamic societies on campus, operating under the umbrella of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, exert a strong influence on many of Britain’s 90,000 Muslim students. A quarter of them belong to Islamic societies and their views are often more extreme.
While three-fifths of society members said that killing in the name of religion was acceptable, an equal number of non-member Muslims said it was never justified. The security services have identified Islamist activism at universities acts as a possible “gateway” to violent extremism. Several terrorists and sympathisers began their extremist careers on campuses.
The authors of the report, “Islam on Campus”, lay much of the blame for extremism among Muslim students on the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to build a worldwide Islamic state.
YouGov polled 600 Muslim students and 800 non-Muslim students at universities with a high number of Muslims.
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