Muslims turning away from terrorism but the world is against them
Surveys have shown that there has been a continuous decline of support for Osama Bin Laden and his brand of politics in Muslim countries. There was even a survey which came up with the finding that more Americans believe that terrorist attacks are justified (under some circumstances) than populations in Muslim countries.
The latest survey from Pew Global has confirmed the growing opposition to suicide attacks in Muslim countries. For example, very few people in urban Pakistan today support “suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians to defend Islam from its enemies” (sample size 1254 respondents, mostly urban). In Turkey only 3 percent of respondents support such violence (sample size 1003, national). Graph from Pew Global is given below:
Pakistan, whom the world believes to be a hub of terrorism, does not have a populace which supports such activities, if the Pew survey has any meaning. Well, with horrific attacks like the bombing of Marriot Hotel in Islamabad (more than 60 people dead, more than 200 injured), one wonders if there is any support at all for this kind of mindless carnage. Criminal minds will never change though…and there is sure to be a certain percentage of fanatics in all countries (Muslim or not) who feel that violence is justified for their “cause”.
It is interesting to note that immediately after the 9/11 blasts and the United States attack on Afghanistan, support for terrorist attacks remained fairly high in Muslim countries…in Pakistan the support for suicide attacks was growing rapidly. The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 must have increased these feelings because in 2004, more than 40 percent of Pakistani respondents (of the survey) said they supported suicide attacks. But since then there has been has been a steady decline to a lowly figure of 5 percent today.
Whether Indian Muslims support the idea that “suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians to defend Islam from its enemies” is justified we don’t know – this question was asked only of Muslims in Muslim countries. If one has to extrapolate by taking into account the sheer number of Indian terrorists today as compared to a few years ago, then it does seem as if support for terrorist activities is growing in India (while it is falling in other countries). At one time our government could simply blame the “foreign hand” and that was the end of it. Today, even if there are strong suspicions that the foreign hand is behind everything, we are seeing Indian terrorists like never before. It is our people who have been caught for the series of blasts in Delhi and in other Indian cities.
There is a struggle between “modernizers” and fundamentalists in Muslim countries. Almost 50 percent of the respondents (Pew survey) in Turkey, Lenanon, Tanzania, Indonesia and Pakistan felt that such a struggle was going on in their country. As there are no Muslim fundamentalists in power in our country we do not have any such struggle but there is a struggle within the Muslim community in India between the moderates and the fundamentalists…with the latter in the minority.
The killing of innocents by terrorists has created a disgust for them in the mind of Muslims… but unfortunately the killing of innocents by terrorists has created a hostility towards Muslims. So, while more and more Muslims are turning away from the extremists, more and more people are turning away from Muslims. Here is the Pew Global graph:
These percentages are all higher than those in earlier years. The hostility towards Muslims increased significantly between 2006 and 2008. So while Muslims in all the Muslim countries surveyed were turning away from the idea of using violence to fight for Islam (except Indonesia), non-Muslims were turning against them. This finding may not be a world-wide one, but even if this survey was not taken in other countries I think all of us know the extent of the bias against Muslims, not just in Europe but also in America and India.
Related Reading: Muslim groups speaking out against radical elements
Some opinions of India from Pakistan
Top ten myths about Pakistan unraveled
Failed States of the world
Benazir’s assassination benefited Musharraf
Kashmir – what is the future?
(Photo by AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI and graphs by Pew Global)