Footnote: Survey reveals that ISIS is not popular in Arab Muslim world
As a Footnote to that, three researchers recently reported on their efforts to measure the support for ISIS among ordinary Muslims in the Arab world.
They added several questions to the standard Arab Barometer survey to ask a scientific sample of respondents in five Muslim nations - Tunisia, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Algeria, and Morocco - these three questions:
- To what extent do you agree with the goals of the Islamic State;
- To what extent to do you support the Islamic State's use of violence; and
- To what extent do you believe the Islamic State's tactics are compatible with the teachings of Islam?
The percent agreeing with Daesh's goals range from 0.4 percent in Jordan to 6.4 percent in the Palestinian territories. Those agreeing with the use of violence range from 0.4 percent in Morocco to 5.4 percent in the Palestinian territories. And those agreeing that Daesh's tactics are compatible with Islam range from 1.0 percent in Jordan to 8.9 percent n the Palestinian territories.
That is, in none of the nations on any of the questions did support for Daesh reach 9%. Daesh is, to put it kindly, not popular in the Arab world or among Muslims.
I'll note in passing that I find it interesting that the highest levels of support on each question are found in the occupied territory of Palestine.
What makes the findings even more significant, however, is that the researchers then allowed for the fact that people might say "I don't know" or decline to answer because they don't want to be seen as supporting Daesh even when they do. So they added those responses together with the pro-Daesh answers and saw that even then, even assuming the non-answers to be pro-Daesh, the highest level of support for Daesh on any of the questions in any of the countries was 13%, that in Algeria on the question of if the group's tactics are compatible with Islam - and that, of course, does not mean you support the group or the tactics, only that they are compatible with the religion, in the same way that someone could say that drone strikes are compatible with Christianity while still opposing them.
The idea that being Muslim means you support - tacitly or otherwise - Daesh or any other form of terrorism is as false in the Middle East as it is here. It's time, well past time, to stop the bigotry.
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