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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.

According to the latest Pew Poll:

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
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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.

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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.

Originally posted to Team Shalom on Tue May 01, 2012 at 11:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Muslims at Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Of Course. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, JDsg, downsouth

    Al Qaeda sucks.  It's a group of violent terrorists, and Muslims are almost all nice people.  It's not hard to see why Muslims dislike Al Qaeda.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Tue May 01, 2012 at 11:32:40 AM PDT

  •  Remember, al-Qaeda cleverly marketed themselves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, JDsg

    as more than a terrorist organization. They built schools, provided basic infrastructure support,etc. They used it to further their hard line version of Islam but even with that they're still out of favor. I think it's because their hard line Wahabbist version of Islam isn't that popular either. But the Bushies and their ilk have manage to take the typical "if we don't understand it we need to be afraid of it" views of Americans and amplified it.

    All my sig lines are hand-crafted by demented elves living in my skull.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue May 01, 2012 at 11:34:45 AM PDT

  •  Important News. And good news as well (5+ / 0-)

    It's nice when one can say both of those things about a piece of information. The drop from 2003 is really significant.

  •  There are fanatics and terrorists in all faiths. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, wu ming, JDsg

    Perhaps with the possible exception of Jainism and Bahai faith. But not even Buddhism is spared its degeneration into fanaticism and terrorism, though it has a reputation of being a peaceful non-violent religion.

    Get this:

    The primary example in the 20th and 21st century is in Sri Lanka, where Sinhala Buddhist groups have committed and encouraged violence against local Christians and Tamils. The leader of Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult that committed a lethal sarin gas attack in the mid-1990s, drew on Buddhist as well as Hindu ideas to justify his beliefs.
    http://terrorism.about.com/...
    What is important to understand and stress is that the majority of religious people view their religion as a personal faith, which helps them cope with existence. They are not going to go out in the streets and kill you.
  •  Also Gallup Poll Shows that out of the three (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downsouth, SoCalSal, wu ming, JDsg

    Abrahamic faiths, Muslim Americans are least likely to endorse killing civilians.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/...

    and see here:

    http://www.rawstory.com/...

    This comment is not meant as an attack on Jewish-Americans or Christian-Americans, so please don't take it this way. The vast majority of Jews and Christians are good, peace-loving people.

  •  Very good news, indeed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, SoCalSal, JDsg

    Even Bin Laden knew that al-Qaeda had made huge mistakes and lost much support as a result.  Its good to see those numbers verified.  I do wish, however, that they had asked of extremism in general rather than solely focusing on al-Qaeda.  One thing I worry about is that some may simply switch allegiance.  If they become disillusioned with al-Qaeda, they may support, for example, the TTP (Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan), or some other extremist organization.  While these groups have many operation links, the lower ranks do not see them as "the same", necessarily.

    One thing I'd caution people, including the diarist, about is using the word "Salafist" interchangeably with "extremist", in the sense of support for terrorism.  The Salafi are best viewed as an Islamic version of the Amish.  They want to actually live their lives in the way of the Salaf, a word which describes the first three generations of Muslims after the death of the Prophet, may Allah's peace be upon him.  While many extremists are, indeed, Salafi, not all Salafi are extremist (in so far as supporting terrorism, at any rate).

    Good diary, volleyboy.  Tipped, Recc'd, and republished to Muslims at Daily Kos.

  •  A very interesting section on the disfavor of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downsouth, JDsg

    Al Qaeda and terrorists groups can be read in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, by Steven Pinker.

    The section runs for several pages and is densely written. A few highlights:

    "...in the world of Muslim opinion [Al Qaeda's] favorables have long been sinking, and its negatives have been rising. In the past six years Muslims have become repulsed by what they increasingly see as nihilistic savagery, consistent with Cronin's remark that decency, not just violence, has an international language."

    "The jihad against the jihadis is being fought at many levels. Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia that once indulged Islamist extremists have decided that enough is enough and have begun to crack down. The movement's own gurus have also turned on it. In 2007 one of bin Laden's mentors, the Saudi cleric Salman al-Odah, wrote an open letter accusing him of 'fostering a culture of suicide bombings that has caused bloodshed and suffering, and brought ruin to entire Muslim communities and families.'" The cleric castigated bin Laden and asked him, "Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions on your back?"

    Pinker notes areas where public approval of suicide bombers and violence has plummeted, "often to around 10 percent." Of particular note was the drop in support in war zones. In a Pakistan province, "support for Al Qaeda plummeted from 70 percent to 4 percent in just five months in late 2007, partly in reaction to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto by a suicide bomber.  In elections that year Islamists won 2 percent of the national vote -- a fivefold decrease since 2002."

    I recommend Pinker's book. The copy I'm now reading is on loan from the library and I intend to buy the book.

    The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

    by SoCalSal on Tue May 01, 2012 at 01:15:50 PM PDT

  •  Perspective -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, downsouth
    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.
    According to political scientist Fawaz Gerges,
    no fewer than 24 percent of Americans tell pollsters that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are often or sometimes justified.
    It would seem that for nearly a quarter of Americans, It's Okay If You're American.

    The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

    by SoCalSal on Tue May 01, 2012 at 01:23:50 PM PDT

  •  Fanatics need "culture wars" to stay in power (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, JDsg, downsouth

    ...so when there are no real culture wars among the majority of the people, they either fabricate real culture wars or perceived ones.

    I can bet you also, most of those counted as "in favor" are either ignorant or have been manipulated by their puppetmasters. The more isolated populations are, the more the chances that they would be deceived. Palestinians are largely isolated. Look what FoxNews is doing to people, here at home.

    Exposure is like sunlight. It disinfects ignorance.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Tue May 01, 2012 at 02:13:37 PM PDT

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