Friday, April 27, 2007

Poll: Most Muslims agree with Al Qaeda's Goals

From the 'hardly surprising' department:

Poll finds most Muslims agree with Al-Qaeda's goals

Washington - Most Muslims want US military forces out of the Middle East and Islamic countries and many agree with Al-Qaeda's goals, if not its tactics, suggested a public opinion poll conducted in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia.

"Most respondents have mixed feelings about Al-Qaeda," said a statement of the study's findings, conducted by the Washington-based nonprofit group and the University of Maryland.

"Large majorities agree with many of its goals, but believe that terrorist attacks on civilians are contrary to Islam."

An average of 74 percent of all those polled agreed with the goal of "push(ing) the US to remove its bases and military forces from all Islamic countries," said the poll.

A full 91 percent of Egyptians and 69 per cent of Moroccans said they approved of attacks against US soldiers in Iraq, while 61 per cent of Indonesians disapproved. Pakistanis appeared divided on the matter, with 31 percent for such attacks and 33 percent against.

The survey found similar responses with regard to US forces in Afghanistan and the Gulf. At least 70 per cent or more in all countries supported the goals of "stand(ing) up to Americans and affirm(ing) the dignity of the Islamic people," and "pressur(ing) the United States not to favor Israel," it said.

Those polled were asked whether they thought certain ideas were the goals of Al-Qaeda or groups inspired by the Osama bin Laden-led militant network, and then were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed, somewhat or strongly, with those goals.

Most agreed that Al-Qaeda goals included requiring a strict application of Islamic, or sharia, law in every Islamic country, pushing US military forces out of all Islamic countries, and keeping Western values out of Islamic countries -- and most were supportive of those aims.

Asked about Al-Qaeda's attitudes and tactics in general, 25 percent of Egyptians and 15 percent of Indonesians said they "support Al-Qaeda's attacks on Americans and share its attitudes toward the US," along with nine percent of Moroccans and 10 per cent of Pakistanis.

Nearly one third of those polled in Egypt and Morocco said they agreed with "many of" Al-Qaeda's attitudes toward the United States but "oppose Al-Qaeda's attacks on Americans." Twenty-four per cent in Indonesia and six percent in Pakistan took this view.

Less than one third said they disagreed with both Al-Qaeda's attitudes and its attacks on Americans, with 31 percent of Egyptians, 29 per cent ofIndonesians and 26 percent of Moroccans and 16 percent in Pakistan.

A large number of Pakistanis chose not to answer the question, with 68 percent saying they refuse/don't know. Significant sections of the other groups also declined to answer, including 35 percent of Moroccans, 32 percent of Indonesians and 14 percent of Egyptians.

A wider range of opinions was found regarding the question of suicide bombers and whether their actions could be justified often, sometimes,rarely or never.

Forty-one percent of Egyptians said "an attack in which a Muslim blows himself up while attacking an enemy" is often justified, while 19 percent said "sometimes" and 28 percent said "never."

However, 68 percent of Indonesians and 60 per cent of Pakistanis were strongly opposed to suicide tactics.

Most Egyptians, Indonesians and Moroccans said establishing a Palestinian state was not a US goal, and sweeping majorities in all countries --including 89 per cent in Egypt and 63 per cent in Morocco -- responded that the United States was controlling most or nearly all of what happens in the world today.

The poll was conducted from December to February through in-home interviews by native Arabic, Indonesian and Urdu language speakers with around 1,000 people in each country. The margin of error was between three and four percent.

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