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.
A year after the death of Osama bin Laden, a new survey of Muslim publics shows al Qaeda is widely unpopular, with majorities expressing negative views of the terrorist group in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon. Furthermore, before his death in 2011, support for bin Laden himself had waned considerably among Muslims around the world.
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.
In the months leading up to Osama bin Laden’s death, a survey of Muslim publics around the world found little support for the al Qaeda leader. Al Qaeda itself also received largely negative ratings among Muslim publics in the 2011 survey.
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.
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
Global Optimism, Local Fears
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.
Views of the U.S. in the Muslim World (from The National Interest)
Prior to the Bhutto Assassination, Public Opinion Was Increasingly Opposed to Terrorism
Many of the Country’s Sectarian Differences Do Not Run Along a Straight Muslim-Christian Fault Line
And Negative Views of Musharraf Are on the Rise
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
Remarks of Andrew Kohut to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight
President travels to a country with volatile views of U.S.
Concerns Pre-Date Airplane Plot
But Support for Terrorism and Anti-Semitism are Widespread
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.
That May Depend on How You Define It – and Who Are the Targets
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.
A year after the war in Iraq, discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished. Opinion of the United States in France and Germany is at least as negative now as at the war’s conclusion, and British views are decidedly more critical. Perceptions of American unilateralism remain widespread in European and Muslim nations, and the war in Iraq has undermined America’s credibility abroad. Doubts about the motives behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism abound, and a growing percentage of Europeans want foreign policy and security arrangements independent from the United States. Across Europe, there is considerable support for the European Union to become as powerful as the United States.
A multinational survey conducted in association with the International Herald Tribune and Council on Foreign Relations Europeans have a better opinion of President George W. Bush than they did before the Sept. 11 attacks, but they remain highly critical of the president, most of his policies, and what they see as his unilateral approach [...]
Opinion leaders around the world believe that the events of Sept. 11 opened a new chapter in world history, but their views about the United States and its struggle with terrorism reflect a more familiar love-hate relationship with America. Influentials in much of the world, except for Western Europe, see mixed public attitudes toward [...]