Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:00 UK

UK Muslims split on Taliban fight

Pakistan Taliban member
The Taliban are now active in both Afghanistan and Pakistan

A survey of British Muslim opinion for the BBC has revealed significant divisions over the conflict with the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said it was wrong for the West to intervene militarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At the same time, a similar number (78%) said they opposed Taliban attacks against Nato soldiers in Afghanistan.

Nine out of 10 of those surveyed said that they opposed Taliban fighters capturing territory in Pakistan.

ICM surveyed 500 Muslims in the UK over 16 years old between 15 and 20 June.

In the survey, 66% of respondents said they supported the authorities in their fight against al-Qaeda. Some 16% said they did not support the fight while 18% said they either did not know or had no opinion.

The survey found that 76% said it was wrong for the US and UK to militarily intervene in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some 15% said it would be right while almost one in 10 said they did not know.

Survey results showing most respondents did not support western military intervention - but that most also did not support the Taliban

When asked what they thought about British-born Muslim soldiers serving in the two countries, just over half said it would be wrong but almost a third said it would be right.

Some 11% said it was legitimate for guerrilla fighters to target British or Nato forces in Afghanistan while 78% were opposed to such attacks.

However, some 95% said it was wrong for the Taliban to use suicide bombers in Pakistan and just 2% said it was right. A similar number opposed the Taliban seeking to capture territory in Pakistan or attacking state targets.

However, when asked what the Pakistani authorities should do, the respondents were more divided. Only 67% said the Pakistani army should take action against the Taliban - and almost a quarter said it would be wrong.

Asked if they understood the reasons why the UK and US would be militarily involved in Afghanistan or Pakistan, the respondents were again split.

A quarter said they fully understood the reasons, but 29% said they did not understand at all; 43% said they only partially understood.

Survey results showing that the people questioned by ICM did not universally understand the US and UK's involvement in the conflict

Almost seven out of 10 of those questioned said they did not think the British government was doing enough to help ordinary people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Turning to attitudes towards security within the UK, eight out of 10 respondents said they would alert the police if they suspected a Muslim was involved in al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism. One in 10 said they would not contact the police.

Almost a third of respondents said they thought the police, government and British society were anti-Muslim. A majority of respondents said they did not think that was the case.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific