Muslims Turn away from Islamism
by Daniel Pipes
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The Pew Research Center, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, has the means to sample opinion with unique frequency and on a major scale. It has used its funds to track Muslim attitudes toward Islamism in general, toward specific terrorist groups in particular, and also suicide bombing over the past decade . The most recent study, "Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East," released on July 1, conducted among 14,244 respondents in 14 countries between April 10 to May 25, 2014, holds much interest. Pew summarized the overall results:
In my reading, the survey makes two major points and also offers some lesser tidbits of interest: :
(1) The better Muslims know Islamism, the more they reject it. This theme pervades the poll numbers when compared over time. As Islamism has surged over the past decade, Muslim support for it has decreased nearly across the board, with the last year showing a particularly dramatic reduction.
Comment: Whether the issue be Islamism in general, views on Hezbollah, Hamas, or on suicide bombings, Muslim support is substantially reduced, confirming my thesis, first offered a year ago, that Islamism has peaked and is in decline.
(2) The three Palestinian populations of the West Bank, Gaza, and Israeli Arabs differ in many ways:
Comments: The Pew poll confirms that Palestinians are the most radicalized people of the Middle East, if not the world, ready to throw everything over and try any wild-eyed experiment. They have tried four over the past century: pan-Syrian nationalism, pan-Arab nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, or Islamism. One shudders to think what will come next. That said, Israeli Arabs differ substantially from their non-Israeli counterparts.
Other revealing tidbits:
Comment: In a twist that may be a harbinger of thing to come, Muslims are sometimes more anti-Islamist than Christians.
Finally, few surveys find 100 percent agreement on anything, but Jewish Israelis unanimously oppose both Hezbollah and Hamas. That even a polling sample reveals total agreement on any topic comes as a mild surprise to anyone who knows the Jews of Israel. (July 14, 2014)
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