Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Muslim Nations Poll On Islamist Terrorism

How do Muslim nations view groups that we in the West consider terrorists? Is there a disconnect between our view and theirs?

A recent Pew Trust survey reveals some answers to these questions bit only partially, because being Pew, they chose to ask about specific groups rather than actually attempt to see where people's personal lines are drawn.

Nevertheless, there's some real meat here that calls into question a lot of the current assumptions about the attitudes of the Muslim umma on this topic.

Pew polled Muslims in 25 separate countries,but with special emphasis on 3 countries considered US allies, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan plus Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied territories.

Here are favorable/unfavorable views for Hamas and Hezbollah:

As you'll notice, Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot receives fairly positive ratings in Jordan (56% favorable) and Egypt (52%) with slightly lower ratings in Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied territories. Oddly enough, Hamas gets lower approval ratings in Gaza than it does in Judea and Samaria ( AKA the West Bank), with 37% in Gaza expressing a favorable opinion versus 47%, almost half in the West Bank. That would perhaps suggest that Fatah's days are numbered.

As far as Hezbollah goes, most Palestinians both in Jordan and the Palestinian territories have a favorable view of Hezbollah, and the group does suprisingly well in Egypt (43%).

The view of Hezbollah in Lebanon depends very much on your religious outlook.
and Lebanon (35%). Almost all of the country’s Shia Muslims (97%) have a positive opinion of Hezbollah, while only 18% of Christians and 2% of Sunni Muslims do.

Only Turks out of the countries surveyed overwhelmingly reject both groups, in spite of Turkey's increasingly Islamist government. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the respondents were from cities like Istanbul an dwhat percentage were from the rural countryside, where the ruling AKP party has its greatest strength.

There's even worse news ahead.

Polled on which Middle Eastern leaders they have confidence in, Muslims in the polled areas responded as follows:

As you see, the most popular Muslim leader is Saudi King Abdullah. Only 37% of Lebanese overall express confidence in Hezbollah leader Nasrallah; however, the country's Shi'ites community almost unanimously approve of him(97%). Nasrullah also gets relatively high marks in the Palestinian territories, and especially in the West Bank, where 71% say they think he will do the right thing in international affairs. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also gets high marks among Lebanon's Shi'ites and the Palestinians. And fully 51% of Palestinian Arabs, (a much greater percentage than in any other Muslim region polled) voiced support for Osama bin Laden, something I'm not at all surprised at. That's also a good indicator about how the people who identify themselves as Palestinians feel about Americans in general.

Again, Turkey has fairly low approval ratings for these leaders.

One thing that's universal in Arab nations is extremely negative attitudes toward Jews - and note I said Jews, not Israelis, although there's obviously some coflating. More than 90% of Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Palestinians express unfavorable views toward Jews.

It's interesting that there are few if any Jews in these areas, and that the numbers change significantly in Israel,where Muslims have direct experience with Jews.Only 35% of Israeli Arabs express a negative opinion of Jews.

One reason for this is obvious....the constant drumbeat of Islamic oriented anti-Semitic propaganda in schools,mosques state controlled media that occurs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied areas doesn't occur in Israel.

Or to put it another way, these countries are in no way educating their people for peace, which says something about the value of Oslo, Land for peace and the associated policies.

It also shows that America isn't able to buy good will just by throwing money at this problem or appeasing Islamists...because a large part of the populations of "friendly" Arab nations simply aren't.

Until America's leaders are wiling to acknowledge that we will continue to put our efforts in all the wrong places.

Food for thought, definitely.

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