As the country prepares for this weekend’s elections, the Taliban has significantly stepped up its attacks. And no matter which party emerges victorious from the May 11 poll, it will have to answer to a public that is increasingly worried about the threat extremism poses to the Pakistani state.
As Pakistan prepares for national elections, the country’s public mood is exceedingly grim. Roughly nine-in-ten Pakistanis believe the country is on the wrong track, and about eight-in-ten say the economy is in poor shape. Meanwhile, concerns about extremist groups have increased markedly. More than nine-in-ten Pakistanis describe terrorism as a very big problem, and [...]
More than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations. A substantial number in key Muslim countries also want a large role for Islam in political life. Meanwhile, few think the U.S. favors democracy in the Middle East.
Following a year of tensions between their country and the United States, Pakistanis continue to hold highly unfavorable views of the U.S. and offer bleak assessments of the relationship between the two nations. And President Obama is held in exceedingly low regard. Additionally, over the last few years, Pakistanis have become less willing to work with the U.S. on efforts to combat extremist groups.
Muslim and Western publics continue to largely agree that relations between them are poor, and disagree about who is at fault – Muslims largely blame Westerners, while those in the West generally blame Muslims. However, in both Western and predominantly Muslim nations, there is a shared concern about the threat posed by Islamic extremism.
America’s image among Pakistanis remains poor, and most disapprove of the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden. Extremist groups also remain unpopular, although support for using the Pakistani military against extremists has waned. Most name India as the top threat to Pakistan. Overall, the public mood in Pakistan is grim – 92% are dissatisfied with the country’s direction.
Support for democracy is high throughout much of the Middle East, but the Arab Spring has not led to an improvement in America’s image in the region. Instead, in key Arab nations and in other predominantly Muslim countries, views of the U.S. remain negative. On balance, extremist groups also viewed negatively, although they receive significant levels of support in some countries.
Extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics. However, opinions of al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, are consistently negative; only in Nigeria do Muslims offer views that are, on balance, positive toward al Qaeda and bin Laden.
More than seven-in-ten Indians have confidence in Barack Obama and about two-thirds express a favorable opinion of the U.S. Indians are also upbeat about their country’s economic situation and its role in world affairs. Still, most say India faces major challenges, including crime and corruption. And there are widespread concerns about Pakistan and extremist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Overwhelmingly, Pakistanis see terrorism as a major problem in their country and most have negative views of the Taliban and al Qaeda, but they have become less concerned over the last year that extremists will take over Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistanis continue to express serious concerns about the U.S. and their longtime rival India.
As the global economy begins to rebound from the great recession, people around the world remain deeply concerned with the way things are going in their countries. Less than a third of the publics in most nations say they are satisfied with national conditions, as overwhelming numbers say their economies are in bad shape. [...]
Across predominantly Muslim nations, there is little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, although there are pockets of support for both groups, especially in the Middle East.
Recent events have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the U.S., but survey results show that Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject extremism.
Americans and Western Europeans agree on the extremist threat from Afghanistan and Pakistan, but divisions remain over the Afghan war
Many fewer among Muslim publics express confidence in bin Laden or support violence against civilians in defense of Islam
Pakistani public opinion has turned against al Qaeda and the Taliban, and no fewer than 69% of those polled express worry that extremists will take control of the nation. Ratings for President Asif Ali Zardari have also plummeted, as Pakistanis see their country in crisis.
The image of the United States has improved markedly in most parts of the world reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In many countries, opinions of the U.S. are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office.
But Few Favor Military Confrontation
Growing numbers of people in several major European countries say they have an unfavorable opinion of Jews, and opinions of Muslims also are more negative than they were several years ago. These findings are from a new Pew Global Attitudes Project report, based on data gathered from 24 countries from regions throughout the world, that examine worldwide religiosity and take a close look at Muslim publics’ attitudes toward terrorism, Osama bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah and more.
Prior to the Bhutto Assassination, Public Opinion Was Increasingly Opposed to Terrorism
A 47-nation survey finds that as economic growth has surged in much of Latin America, East Europe and Asia over the past five years, people are expressing greater satisfaction with their personal lives, family incomes and national conditions. The picture is different in most advanced nations, where growth has been less robust and citizen satisfaction has changed little since 2002.Commentary
Concerns Pre-Date Airplane Plot
After a year marked by riots over cartoon portrayals of Muhammad, a major terrorist attack in London, and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Muslims and Westerners see relations between them as generally bad.
Concerns over Islamic extremism, extensive in the West even before this month’s terrorist attacks in London, are shared to a considerable degree by the publics in several predominantly Muslim nations surveyed.