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Old 07-15-2005, 05:39 AM   #1
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The Truth About Support For Terrorism In The Islamic World

It is dropping significantly
Support for Bin Laden, Violence Down Among Muslims, Poll Says
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 15, 2005; Page A13

Osama bin Laden's standing has dropped significantly in some pivotal Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically," according to a new survey released yesterday.

Predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries share to a "considerable degree" Western concerns about Islamic extremism, according to the poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization.

"Most Muslim publics are expressing less support for terrorism than in the past. Confidence in Osama bin Laden has declined markedly in some countries, and fewer believe suicide bombings that target civilians are justified in the defense of Islam," the poll concluded.

The one exception is attitudes toward suicide bombings of U.S and Western targets in Iraq, a subject on which Muslims were divided. Roughly half of Muslims in Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco said such attacks are justifiable, while sizable majorities in Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia disagreed. Yet, support for suicide bombings in Iraq still declined by as much as 20 percent compared with a poll taken last year.

The results, which also reveal widespread support for democracy, show how profoundly opinions have changed in parts of the Muslim world since Pew took similar surveys in recent years. The poll attributed the difference in attitudes toward extremism to both the terrorist attacks in Muslim nations and the passage of time since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The new poll also found that growing majorities or pluralities of Muslims now say that democracy can work in their countries and is not just a Western ideology. Support for democracy was in the 80 percent range in Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco. It was selected by 43 percent in Pakistan and 48 percent in Turkey -- the largest blocks of respondents in both countries because significant numbers were unsure.

"They are not just paying lip service. They are saying they specifically want a fair judiciary, freedom of expression and more than one party in elections. It wasn't just a vague concept," Kohut said. "U.S. and Western ideas about democracy have been globalized and are in the Muslim world."
The survey found only 2 percent of the people polled in Lebanon and 7 percent in Turkey expressing confidence that bin Laden would "do the right thing regarding world affairs." The proportion that expressed confidence in the al Qaeda leader dropped from almost half to about a quarter in Morocco, and from 58 percent to 37 percent in Indonesia. Bin Laden's standing went up slightly in Pakistan, to 51 percent, and in Jordan, to 60 percent.
One of the starkest findings was the divide in views on religion. Most of those surveyed in nine Western countries -- including the United States, Britain, Canada, France and Russia -- said they have favorable views of Muslims, although the non-Muslims surveyed were more likely to say Islam is more violent than Christianity, Judaism or Hinduism.

The Muslims surveyed had mixed views on Christians, and anti-Jewish sentiment was "endemic," the survey reported.

A mixed bag in some respects but overall quite good; the drop in support or sympathy towards Bin Laden and terrorist groups is probably because of the terror attacks against innocent Muslims, the overall support for an increased role of Islam in the political process is also an inadvertent side effect of democracy ~ give the people what they want and you will not be seeing secularism overnight; in time perhaps. The dangers of anti-semitism remain a very real obstacle and will probably continue to sabotage long term peace in the middle east.

The decline in support and the events surrounding it; bombings all over the Islamic world against soft targets, the western support for Indonesia following the Tsunami notably the US and Australia having "boots on the ground" rapidly and the emerging democratic movement in the Arab world are fascinating. I do hope that this is a good omen and these trends continue, the only way to beat the Islamist ideology in the GWOT is to remove it's legitimacy and support base by marginalising it as much as possible ~ and a great deal of that comes from within the diverse and by no means monolithic Islamic world.

So a hearty thumbsup to the hundreds of millions of people who are taking a stand against terrorism.

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Old 07-15-2005, 06:35 AM   #2
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I'm really pleased to see this. After 9/11 some governments had to change their tunes as per supporting these people. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and one other country, I forget which one, supported the Taliban before the attack. They changed after the attack. The big shot clerics in Saudi Arabia are now devoting time to fighting terrorism and extremism. Also, I'm delighted that more of these people want democracy. That's certainly a step in the right direction, and proves that my past pessimism about democracy in the Middle East is probably wrong. Hey, this is something I like to be wrong about.

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Old 07-15-2005, 06:53 AM   #3
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Good news.
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Old 07-15-2005, 11:44 AM   #4
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I think the web-posted beheadings of civilians and the increased al-jazeera coverage of Iraqi (sunni and shia) civilians as terrorists' targets probably has gone a long way to turning these poll numbers around. The terrorists, in their zeal to show their effectiveness and how evil the west is, have instead shot themselves in their PR-challenged asses.
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