Polls Show Most Muslims Reject Both Extremism and Islamic Reform

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) David Pollock - According to public opinion polls, in Muslim-majority societies, ideology is not the first thing on most people's minds, not even close. When asked open-ended questions about their personal priorities, large majorities give pride of place to practical issues - like jobs, family, education, health, or income. Asked about national priorities, large majorities rank security, economic development, or combating corruption highest on the list, rather than any particular ideological orientation. In one 2015 poll of Palestinians, only about one in seven West Bankers and Gazans, on average, selected the Islamic option of "being a good Muslim" as their top personal priority. Moreover, tough countermeasures against jihadist ideologies and groups are probably acceptable to the vast majority of local Muslim populations who are firmly opposed to the Islamic State. In half a dozen Arab countries polled by this author, support for jihadists is 2-5% in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, and the Palestinian territories, while 95% have a negative view of IS. And over the past year, the popularity of IS among major Arab publics has been shrinking, not rising. It is clearly not a mass movement.

2016-02-26 00:00:00

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