MOST people living in Muslim majority countries are very concerned about the threat of Islamic extremism in their nations, a Pew survey has found.
The poll investigated specific attitudes towards groups such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas, in fourteen countries with significant Muslim populations, and found that almost universally negative opinions were held about them.
The data for the survey was collected between April 10 to May 25, 2014, which was prior to the ISIS takeover of Mosul and other areas of Iraq and Syria. Syria, Iraq, and Iran were not polled.
In the Middle East, fears about Islamic extremism have been on the rise since 2013, with Lebanon reporting that a staggering 92 percent of the country’s residents are very or somewhat concerned about Islamic extremism in the nation. Its long border with conflict-stricken Syria is a likely factor in the high degree of concern.
The Middle East isn’t alone. The majority of the population in 11 out of the 14 countries said that they were “concerned about Islamic extremism in our country.” Only 50 percent of Turkey, 46 percent of Senegal, and 39 percent of Indonesia reported feeling concerned.
Suicide bombing has been a tactic for Islamic militants operating all over the world for years now, though support for the practice has drastically declined in the last decade. No majorities in any of the countries polled expressed the opinion that “suicide bombings can often or sometimes be justified against civilian targets in order to defend Islam from its enemies.” However, 62 percent of respondents from Palestine’s volatile Gaza Strip did say that suicide bombing could sometimes or often be justifiable.