The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the “feelings and motives” of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.
Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society, even though 91 per cent still say they feel loyal to Britain.
The results of the poll, conducted for the Sunday Telegraph, came as thousands of Muslims staged a fresh protest in London yesterday against the publication of cartoons of Mohammed. In Libya, at least 10 people died in protests linked to the caricatures.
And in Pakistan, a cleric was reported to have put a $1 million ( £575,000) bounty on the head of the Danish cartoonist who drew the original pictures.
Last night, Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP involved with the official task force set up after the July attacks, said the findings were “alarming”. He added: “Vast numbers of Muslims feel disengaged and alienated from mainstream British society.” Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This poll confirms the widespread opposition among British Muslims to the so-called war on terror.”
The most startling finding is the high level of support for applying sharia law in “predominantly Muslim” areas of Britain.
Islamic law is used in large parts of the Middle East, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, and is enforced by religious police. Special courts can hand down harsh punishments which can include stoning and amputation.
Forty per cent of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41 per cent opposed it. Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers’ motives, and 75 per cent did not. One per cent felt the attacks were “right”.
Nearly two thirds thought the video images shown last week of British troops beating Iraqi youths were symptomatic of a wider problem in Iraq. Half did not think the soldiers would be “appropriately punished”.
Half of the 500 people surveyed said relations between white Britons and Muslims were getting worse. Only just over half thought the conviction of the cleric Abu Hamza for incitement to murder and race hatred was fair.
Mr Khan, the MP for Tooting, said: “We must redouble our efforts to bring Muslims on board with the mainstream community. For all the efforts made since last July, things do not have appear to have got better.”
He agreed with Sir Iqbal that the poll showed Muslims still had a “big gripe” about foreign policy, particularly over the war on terror and Iraq.
David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: “It shows we have a long way to go to win the battle of ideas within some parts of the Muslim community and why it is absolutely vital that we reinforce the voice of moderate Islam wherever possible.”
A spokesman for Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said: “It is critically important to ensure that Muslims, and all faiths, feel part of modern British society. Today’s survey indicates we still have a long way to go… [but] we are committed to working with all faiths to ensure we achieve that end.”