If ignorance and poverty are responsible for the growth of extremist views in the Islamic world, someone needs ask to Muslim students, privileged enough and bright enough to attend some of the United Kingdom's best universities, why one-in-three of them endorses killing in the name of Islam.
The report of this finding, based on a poll of 600 Muslim and 800 non-Muslim students at 12 universities in the UK, and conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Center for Social Cohesion, will be released tomorrow as "Islam on Campus."
Among its findings of Muslim beliefs:
- 40 per cent support introduction of sharia into British law for Muslims
- One-third back the idea of a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on sharia law
- 40 per cent believe it is unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely
- 24 per cent do not think men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah
- 25 per cent have little or no respect for homosexuals.
- 53 per cent believe killing in the name of religion is never justified (compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims), while 32 per cent say it is
- 57 per cent believe Muslim soldiers serving in the UK military should be able to refuse duty in Muslim countries
- More than half favor an Islamic political party to support their views in parliament
- One-third don't think or don't know if Islam is compatible with Western views of democracy
"Significant numbers appear to hold beliefs which contravene democratic values," Hannah Stuart, one of the report's authors, told the London Times. "These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said there is no extremism in British universities."
The report echoes one released last year by the Policy Exchange which found 37% of all Muslims aged 16-24 would prefer to live under a sharia system.
In addition to polling of 1,400 students, the researchers visited more than 20 universities to interview students and listen to guest speakers brought on campus. The report notes radical Islamic preachers regularly deliver inflammatory speeches that target homosexuals and border on anti-Semitism.
"Our researchers found a ghettoized mentality among Muslim students at Queen Mary (college)," said James Brandon, deputy director at CSC. "Also, we found the segregation between Muslim men and women at events more visible at Queen Mary."
A spokesman for Queen Mary told the Times the university knew Islamic preachers had spoken on campus but was unaware of what they had said.
"Clearly, we in no way associate ourselves with these views. However, also integral to the spirit of university life is free speech and debate, and on occasion speakers will make statements that are deemed offensive," he said.
Wes Streeting, president of the National Union of Students, condemned the study: "This disgusting report is a reflection of the biases and prejudices of a right-wing think tank – not the views of Muslim students across Britain. Only 632 Muslim students were asked vague and misleading questions, and their answers were willfully misinterpreted."
The report was criticized by the country's largest Muslim student body, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies. Most of the Islamic societies on campuses operate under the FOSIS umbrella.
The authors of the report note that campus Islamic societies have, in the past, been where some UK terrorists became radicalized. They cite Kafeel Ahmed, who drove a jeep engulfed in flames into a building at the Glasgow airport last year and died of his burns. Investigators believe he adopted jihadist beliefs while studying at Anglia Ruskin university, Cambridge.
In April, WND reported that the director-general of MI5 had warned the government that donations of hundreds of millions of pounds from Saudi Arabia and powerful Muslim organizations in Pakistan, Indonesia and the Gulf Straits had led to a "dangerous increase in the spread of extremism in leading university campuses."
"The finding that a large number of students think it is okay to kill in the name of religion is alarming," said Anthony Glees, professor of security and intelligence studies at Buckingham University.
"There is a wide cultural divide between Muslim and non-Muslim students. The solution is to stop talking about celebrating diversity and focus on integration and assimilation."