September 13, 2013

Syria’s Neighbors Worry about Extremism, Too

By Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center

Special to CNN

The prospect of a U.S. military strike on Syria has focused new attention on the role and influence of Islamic extremist groups – including Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and jihadists from Chechnya, Pakistan and other countries – opposing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In his address to the nation on September 10, President Barack Obama asserted that “al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death.”

Syria’s neighbors share some of those concerns. Indeed, a new Pew Research Center survey shows extremism is also a matter of great concern to Muslims in the countries surrounding Syria, with many also worried that the turmoil will spread across their own border.

Read more at CNN’s Global Public Square blog