One of the Mantra's of Islamophobe's, Right Wingers, ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) sufferers and the Faux News crowd is that we constantly hear the drumbeat of how Islam is a radical religion by nature (I guess they never read the New or Old Testament) and how "Teh Mooslims" just love them some terror and al-Qaeda. Well it turns out that this might be just a tad overstated (understatement on purpose).
According to a Pew Research Poll it turns out that Muslims in Middle Eastern countries are not all that fond of al-Qaeda at all. I find this interesting as when on a Right Wing Hate site (anti-Islamic) I was arguing with a commentor that MOST Muslims did not support terrorists or terrorism and this persons comment back was "Prove it...". Now aside from the obvious facts that whole societies do not engage in daily terror as a populace aside. Here now is the proof.
A year after the death of its leader, al Qaeda is widely unpopular among Muslim publics. A new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted March 19 to April 13, 2012, finds majorities – and mostly large majorities – expressing negative views of the terrorist group in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon.
These numbers show a dramatic decrease in support for Bin-Laden and Co. over the years from 2003 (the year of the Iraq Invasion) -2011 (Right before Bin-Laden's death) as the chart below shows.
Lebanon and Turkey (a new favorite "whipping boy" of the Rightists) apparently have very few al-Qaeda supporters at all with just 2% and 6% of the Muslim communities supporting the salafist fanatics.
Unfortunately, The Palestinian territories, while showing a dramatic decline from 72% to 34% approval STILL had the highest amount of support in the areas where questions were asked last year. This was followed by Indonesia and Egypt, where a surprising 21% of people viewed Al-Qaeda favorably.
These numbers though give lie to the Right Wing meme that followers of Islam are all (or mostly) terrorists or terror supporters. Certainly it is true that even 10% of a given population supporting these fanatics is high and efforts should be made to continue to discredit terror and eliminate it's use as a political tactic. But the good news is that vast, vast majorities in MOST of these countries (and look at Lebanon with 98% DISAPPROVAL) have turned away from the thugs of al-Qaeda and their fanatical ways.
All of this said - this goes back to those on the right trying to create a "culture war" (and to be fair that can be said about Rightists in the Islamic World as well) to sow fear in our populace. One right wing lunatic had a headline at his site stating that "President Obama Supports Palestinian Extremism" with a picture of a young boy wearing combat gear. Now, granted this is the extreme fringe, but the idea here is to get people to start making these associations every day and eventually demonize a whole group of people as terrorists, others, and so forth.
The reality based community needs to be aware of this and have proof to show that this kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in the year 2012. These are not the years of the Crusades and one should not want to return to those, and honestly that too goes both ways.
Are there problems with fanaticism in the Middle East. Yes, there are. But, mass denunciations and demonizations are NOT the path to solving the problems that fanaticsm brings. It doesn't help the people in that region and it doesn't help us here in the U.S.