Some very troubling news is coming out of the Muslim world this week. World Public Opinion concluded through interviews in Muslim countries that most do not directly support the terror tactics that Al Qaeda uses but they approve of Al Qaeda’s fight against the U.S.
A study of public opinion in predominantly Muslim countries reveals that very large majorities continue to renounce the use of attacks on civilians as a means of pursuing political goals. At the same time large majorities agree with al Qaeda’s goal of pushing the United States to remove its military forces from all Muslim countries and substantial numbers, in some cases majorities, approve of attacks on US troops in Muslim countries.
(Photo: Ed Yourdon)
People in majority-Muslim countries express mixed feelings about al Qaeda and other Islamist groups that use violence, perhaps due to this combination of support for al Qaeda’s goals and disapproval of its terrorist methods.
However large majorities support allowing Islamist groups to organize parties and participate in democratic elections. In some majority-Muslim countries, Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are forbidden from participating in elections.
Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, comments, “The US faces a conundrum. US efforts to fight terrorism with an expanded military presence in Muslim countries appear to have elicited a backlash and to have bred some sympathy for al Qaeda, even as most reject its terrorist methods.”
The survey is part of an ongoing study of Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia, with additional polling in Turkey, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Azerbaijan and Nigeria. It was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org with support from the START Consortium at the University of Maryland. (read the rest, here)
This only confirms the suspicions and general take on what most Americans probably already knew. There is a bright spot. A large majority of Muslims disapprove of killing innocent American civilians…but, there is a but — the support for killing civilians is on the rise over the past two years.
The Jawa Report offers its take on the same report with analysis.
This is true even in so-called “moderate” countries, like Indonesia where 5% of the population think civilians are legitimate targets for attack and another 8% have mixed feelings about attacking civilians. What’s 5% of 237 million people? That’s over 10 million terror supporters living in Indonesia alone, with another 19 million of their neighbors who might not feel inclined to turn them in should they ever decide to go on a killing spree.
A related question showed — with the exception of those asked in Egypt — that support for killing American civilians working in Muslims countries is even greater than support for killing American civilians in the US. A full 18% of Palestinians either directly support killing Americans living in the Middle East or had mixed feelings about the prospect.
Hooray two-state solution!
That number was 22% amongst our NATO “allies” in Turkey. I wonder if the Obama administration will continue with the suicidal US foreign policy goal of pushing for Turkey’s admission into the EU?
Making the case for admission into the EU even more problematic is that:
Attacks on civilians in Europe are not viewed differently from attacks on civilians in the US. Egyptians, Indonesians and Pakistanis all rejected such attacks by majorities: 85 percent in Egypt, 72 percent in Indonesia, and 51 percent in Pakistan.
Despite the spin, this means that 49% of Pakistanis don’t reject the notion that European civilians are fair game.
49% of 173 million people!
The one bright spot in this section is that those who see attacking civilians as ineffective (not wrong, just tactically ineffective) seems to be on the rise.
The report also shows disturbing conspiracy theories that only galvanizes these positions. The majority of Muslims feel that the U.S.’s aims is to usurp Islam and spread Christianity in the Middle East.
Parting shot: If this is what Muslims in majority Muslim countries think, I can’t help but wonder what Muslim immigrants, their children, and converts in the West think?
Because it’s one thing for 14% of Indonesians in Southeast Asia to support al Qaeda, and it’s another thing altogether for 9% of Indonesians in, say, California to hold similar views.