Growing concern in Muslim world about Islamist militancy: survey
By Tom Heneghan
(Reuters) - Large majorities in Muslim countries are increasingly worried about Islamist militancy and oppose its best-known groups, such as the global al Qaeda movement, Nigeria's Boko Haram and Hamas, according to a new survey.
Support for violent tactics such as suicide bombing has fallen in many countries over the past decade, although some states still have significant minorities approving it, the survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center said.
Pew, which regularly tracks opinion on religious issues around the world, polled over 14,000 Muslims in 14 countries in April and May, before the radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group seized a large swathes of Iraq and Syria and announced a new Islamic "caliphate" there.
Although it did not ask about ISIL, the survey's findings suggest there would be little support for a call on Tuesday by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for Muslims worldwide to take up arms to avenge what he said were wrongs committed against Islam.
"As well-publicized bouts of violence, from civil war to suicide bombings, plague the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations," the survey said.
"In most Middle Eastern countries, concern about extremism has increased in the past year," said the survey issued on Tuesday.
Lebanon was the country most concerned, with 92 percent of those polled agreeing when asked if they were "concerned about Islamic extremism in our country". Tunisia followed with 82 percent, then Egypt with 75 percent and the Palestinian territories with 65 percent.
In other regions, 72 percent of Nigerians, 66 percent of Pakistanis and 63 percent of Malaysians also worried about violent Islamist activity. Continued...