40% of British Muslims support Bin Laden - survey


Osama bin Laden commands significant support among British Muslims for his terrorist war against America, according to an opinion poll published today.

A Sunday Timessurvey found a significant minority - 40 per cent - believed "bin Laden has cause to wage war against the US".

It found 11 per cent of those interviewed thought there was some justification for the September 11th attacks.

Forty per cent thought that British Muslims who went to fight with the Taliban were right to do so, while the overwhelming majority - 96 per cent - said the US bombing campaign should stop.

Nearly three-quarters - 73 per cent - said British Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair was wrong to back the Americans and 61 per cent said that they did not believe the efforts to capture or kill bin Laden were justified.

Asked whether it was more important to be British or Muslim, 68 per cent chose their faith and just 14 per cent their nationality.

The figures are likely to concern ministers who have repeatedly insisted that the US and its allies were not waging war on Islam, amid fears of growing racial and religious tensions in Britain.

The Sunday Times interviewed 1,170 Muslims at random in cities across Britain - including London, Birmingham, Leicester, Bradford and Manchester - on Friday.