Friday, July 15, 2005

With good news like this, why bother getting up in the morning?

Today's NYT has a brief piece about the recent Pew Global Attitudes survey.
The article is titled, "Muslim Approval of Terrorism Declines, a Global Poll Finds," and the survey itself is titled "Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics Support for Terror Wanes Among Muslim Publics."
If you're a busy person like me, you'll read the headlines and think this is pretty good news.
Until you read the numbers... and realize a better title would be something like "Muslim Publics Modestly Enthusiastic About Terror."

This was a face-to-face survey, so assume people are slightly less willing to express socially unacceptable views. Now look at the results:

Support for suicide bombings against "U.S. and allies" in Iraq:

The title is misleading-- the actual question on the survey was:
What about suicide bombing carried out against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq? Do you believe that this is justifiable or not justifiable?

And this--people love that OBL:

...pretty much goes with hating Jews:

Before you get all down, don't forget this gem-- the "good news" trumpeted in both titles-- that enthusiasm for terror is modestly lower:

That's the title?

The most disturbing results are worth looking at in depth. The actual survey (page 6 of the .pdf, labeled page 38) has the following question and results:
MQ.30f2 Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

And here are the actual survey results:

Note that this question is different from the previous question, which asked whether the same kind of violence is acceptable in the respondents' own countries.
The percentage of people who think murdering civilians "in order to defend Islam from its enemies" is often, sometimes, or rarely justified is 20% in Turkey, 44% in Pakistan, 58% in Lebanon, 88% in Jordan, 18% in Morocco, and 33% in Indonesia.

With good news like this, why bother getting up in the morning?


Jack Roy said...

I like China's views of all three religions.

How did Lebanon and Jordan get their approval of Jews down to zero? We can't even 100% name recognition of our presidents, and they can get attitudinal unanimity? That's discipline far beyond what Americans can muster. I think "Adolph Hitler" would enjoy approval in the range of 2-3% among those Americans who thought he was the bassist for Black Flag.

tf said...

litvak, can you explain the math corresponding the lovers of obl and haters of jews?

i wonder what people in israel think of all three religions?

The Litvak said...

Thanks for your question, and, of course, my suggestion that OBL's popularity in a country is correlated with its level of hating Jews was mostly flip. Among the Muslim countries polled, there really wasn't a strong correlation I could see b/w the two. Although I'm sure if they expanded the OBL question to non-Muslim countries, there'd be a very strong correlation b/w negative attitudes towards Jews (high in all polled Muslim countries) and admiration for OBL (higher in Muslim countries than elsewhere).
And, of course, no individual OBL supporters are fans of Jews.
What people in Israel think about all three religions? Well, I don't know-- except I'm certain they have very high approval ratings for Jews (though maybe not as high as in the Netherlands). I can confidently tell you, though, that Jewish (or Israeli) support for suicide bombings against "enemies of Judaism" is very, very low.