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Disdain for IS among Muslim publics

Disdain for IS among Muslim publics

Categories: Latest News

Thursday November 19 2015

According to data released by the Pew Research Center from an international survey of ten countries with significant Muslim populations and Israel, overwhelmingly negative opinions of ISIS prevail.

In the wake of the atrocities committed in Paris and Beirut, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey on views of ISIS in the following countries: Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Senegal. The nationally representative surveys were conducted as part of the Pew Research Center’s annual global poll in April and May this year.

The survey found that in countries including Lebanon, Indonesia, Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Turkey, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malaysia and Senegal, respondents had strong “unfavourable” views of the terrorist group. The exception was Pakistan, where a majority (62%) offered no opinion on ISIS.

The survey also found that in none of the countries surveyed did more than 15% of the population express favourable views toward ISIS and in countries with mixed religious and ethnic populations, negative views of ISIS were consistently found.

In Lebanon, which recently suffered an attack in the capital, Beirut, almost all respondents (99%) had an unfavourable view of the group. Hatred of ISIS was shared by Lebanese Sunni Muslims (98% unfavourable) Shia Muslims (100%) and Lebanese Christians (100%). Israelis (97%) and Jordanians (94%) were also strongly opposed to ISIS, including 91% of Israeli Arabs compared with 98% of Israeli Jews. An overwhelming majority of people living in Occupied Palestinian Territories (84%) also had a negative view of ISIS, both in the Gaza Strip (92%) and in the West Bank (79%).

In Nigeria, there was a greater proportion of respondents with favourable views (14%) compared with other countries, but attitudes differed sharply by religious affiliation. An overwhelming number of Nigerian Christians (71%) had an unfavourable view of ISIS, as did 61% of Nigerian Muslims. However, 20% of Nigerian Muslims had a favourable view of ISIS. The group Boko Haram in Nigeria, which has been conducting a terrorist campaign in the country for years, is affiliated with ISIS but are considered separate entities in the country.

The survey does not extend to Western European countries or the US but in a different survey conducted in 15 mostly Western countries, more than half said they were very concerned about ISIS as an international threat.

In France, 71% said that they were very concerned about the ISIS threat, though this figure is from before the Paris massacre of last week. A similar number of people surveyed in other nations also expressed serious concern, including 77% of Spaniards, 70% of Germans, 69% of Italians and 68% of Americans.

The present findings support research from 2013 by Pew Research Center that found 81% of Muslims in America believed violence against civilians in the name of Islam was never justified, while only 1% of those surveyed believed it was justified. The findings also showed that most Muslims around the world also rejected attacks on civilian populations.

A survey conducted by Pew in September 2013, assessing the views of 8000 Muslims from across 11 Muslim majority countries, found that Al Qaeda was “widely reviled” among Muslim publics

In light of last week’s massacres in Paris and Beirut the overwhelming majority of British Muslims have condemned ISIS for instigating the attacks. Yesterday, the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella body for 500 mosques, schools and Islamic associations in Britain, placed an advert in the Daily Telegraph, “utterly condemning” the terrorist attacks.


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