The Pew Research Center logo. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
(JNS.org) Palestinians were among the highest supporters of suicide bombing as well as terror groups—al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas—in the Muslim world, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center on concerns about Islamic extremism in the Middle East.
At the same time, while support for al-Qaeda is relatively low in the Middle East and has high negative ratings, the Palestinian territories—the West Bank and Gaza—had the highest favorable rating of al-Qaeda at 25 percent, compared to only 2 percent in Lebanon, 5 percent in Turkey, 11 percent in Jordan, and 15 percent in Egypt.
Similarly, the Palestinian territories had higher-than-average favorable ratings of Hezbollah, at 32 percent, and the Gaza-based terror group Hamas, at 35 percent, compared to other countries in the survey. Nevertheless, unfavorable Palestinian opinion of Hamas has grown from 33 percent in 2007 to 53 percent today.
Overall, the unfavorable views of all of the terror groups have increased significantly over the past seven years. But the Palestinian territories also had the second-highest support for suicide bombings, 46 percent, in the survey. That figure, however, has declined from a high of 70 percent in 2007.
Meanwhile, the survey found that concern for Islamic extremism has increased in the Middle East, especially among Lebanese Christians, at 95 percent, and Israeli Jews, at 87 percent.
The survey was conducted among 14,244 respondents in 14 countries with significant Muslim populations in April and May.