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UK poll reveals worrying statistics on religious violence

Almost one in three Muslim students in the UK believe it justifiable to kill in the name of their religion, a poll showed today.

Most of those said such extreme action was acceptable to defend Islam from attack but a small number (4%) said it was OK to kill to promote it.

However a clear majority overall (55%) rejected the idea, in a survey carried out by internet pollsters YouGov for a study of campus extremism.

It gathered the opinions of 600 Muslim and 800 non-Muslim students at 12 high-profile universities with active Islamic Societies (Isoc).

The Centre for Social Cohesion, which commissioned the study, said it had revealed "broad and varied" opinions among Muslim students.

But co-author Hannah Stuart said the findings on extremist views - twice as high among Isoc members - were "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," she said.

The poll found that most Muslim students (54%) would like to see the formation of an Islamic party to represent their views at Westminster.

Some 40% backed the incorporation of Sharia law into British law but Muslim students were fairly evenly split over whether controversial aspects such as punishment or stoning should be included - 32% deeming them sacred and inviolable and 34% agreeing Sharia could be modernised.

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