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In Middle East, Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise

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In Middle East, Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise (Pew Research Center)
(dailyalert.org, July 2, 2014)

    Concern about Islamic extremism is high and growing among countries with substantial Muslim populations, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

    In the Palestinian territories, 65% were concerned about Islamic extremism, with much greater concern in Gaza (79%) than in the West Bank (57%).

    Al-Qaeda gets negative marks in all 14 countries surveyed, with its greatest support in the Palestinian territories (25%).

    Hizbullah also is seen unfavorably in every Middle Eastern country surveyed. Among Palestinians in the West Bank, 35% had a favorable view vs. 46% unfavorable; in Gaza, 26% favorable, 69% unfavorable. Among Israeli Arabs, 25% viewed Hizbullah favorably, 65% unfavorably.

    Most countries surveyed have an unfavorable impression of Hamas. In the West Bank, 35% favorable, 47% unfavorable. In Gaza, 35% favorable, 63% unfavorable. Interestingly, Hamas’ greatest support is found among Lebanese Shiites (55%).

    When it took control of Gaza in 2007, 62% of Palestinians had a favorable view of Hamas, while a third had negative views. Now, only about a third have positive opinions.

    62% of Palestinians in Gaza say suicide bombings can be justified against civilian targets, as do 36% in the West Bank. Overall, support by Palestinian Muslims for suicide bombing has fallen 16 percentage points since 2013.

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