A third of Muslim university students believe killing in the name of religion can be justified, a survey has revealed.
A study on the attitudes of students has found that 28 per cent said killing could be justified if the religion was under attack and another four per cent supported killing in order to "promote and preserve" the religion.
Over half, 53 per cent, said killing in the name of religion was never justifiable but among non-Muslim students that figure was 94 per cent.
While most students showed a typical generation gap where their parents were more religious than they were – 72 per cent – a significant 18 per cent said they were more strict in their religious observance than their parents.
The importance of sharia law to most Muslim was underlined by the 40 per cent who said they supported its introduction into law for Muslims in Britain, although 37 per cent opposed it.
A third of those surveyed supported the creation of a worldwide Muslim caliphate but 25 per cent opposed it and 42 per cent said they were not sure.
Half of the students said they would not be supportive of a friend who wanted to leave Islam.
Hannah Stuart, from the Centre for Social Cohesion, co-author of the report, said: "These findings are deeply alarming. Students in higher education are the future leaders of their communities yet significant numbers of them appear to hold beliefs which contravene liberal, democratic values.
"In addition there are signs of growing religious segregation on campus. These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said that there is no extremism in British universities."
There are 90,000 Muslims among Britain's 2.3 million students in high education and the online survey asked 600 Muslims and 800 non-Muslims for their views on the religion.
Radicalisation among students has been a problem since the 1990s, with three of the July 7 bombers having attended university, along with most of the gang which planned a fertilizer bomb attack on the Bluewater shopping centre and the Ministry of Sound night club.
Ahmed Omar Sheikh, convicted of the kidnap and murder of the journalist Daniel Pearl, was a former student at LSE and Waseem Mughal, convicted of running a website for al-Qaeda in Iraq, was a former biochemistry student at Leicester University.
Mughal was a member of the university Islamic society, and the fertilizer bomber Jawad Akbar attended Islamic society meetings at Brunel University, while Yassin Nassari, convicted of smuggling plans for a Qassam rocket into Britain, was president of the University of Westminster's Islamic society at its Harrow campus in Northwest London.
The Government has attempted to encourage lecturers to report students they suspect of radical behaviour but the University and College Union has refused to do so.
A quarter of those surveyed were members of their Islamic society – compared with six per cent for other faiths - but only a third said the societies promoted interfaith activities.
Over a third of students said they used the campus prayer room regularly and 42 per cent said they regularly attended Friday prayers, although only a small proportion attending prayers were female.
None of the students admitted to being gay or lesbian and 25 per cent said they had little or no respect for others who were.
When it came to wearing the hijab or headscarf, 59 per cent said it was important, with more women than men agreeing, but 31 per cent said it was not and 10 per cent said they were not sure, with more men than women being uncertain.
A quarter of students said men and women were not equal in the eyes of Allah and seven per cent were not sure, with more women than men feeling unequal.
By contrast 76 per cent of non-muslim believed that men and women were not equal in Islam.
Nearly half of women and 36 per cent of men believe that the "free mixing" of sexes is not acceptable, while nine per cent of women and 17 per cent of men are unsure.
Despite their adherence to religion it did not stop most Muslim from mixing with other religions – 37 per cent said they had friends at university from all sorts of different backgrounds and 38 per cent said religion was not an issue when choosing friends and only eight per cent said most of their friends at university were Muslim.
More than two thirds of the students said Islam was compatible with the Western notion of democracy, and only 13 per cent said it was not, although 19 per cent were not sure.
Half of non-Muslim students thought the two were incompatible.
Three quarters of the students also said that it is possible to be both Muslim and British equally, although only three per cent said being British came first. Nearly half said they were not bothered whether they married a British partner or not.
On the other hand 57 per cent of the students said Muslims serving in the armed forces should have the right to opt out of the army if they are required to fight in Muslim countries and 25 per cent said they were not sure.
The National Union of Students said: "We know there is concern about the serious issue of violent extremism on campus, but there is a wealth of evidence to show that this is not widespread. This report actually undermines cohesion and the joint efforts of students, institutions and government in tackling violent extremism."
From UK Telegraph