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Posted by on Feb 25, 2007 in Media, Places, Religion, Society, War | 20 comments

“Myth of Muslim Support for Terror”

On top is the heading of the article Kenneth Ballen wrote in The Christian Science Monitor. “The common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews.

“Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria.

“The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland’s prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that ‘bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians’ are ‘never justified,’ while 24 percent believe these attacks are ‘often or sometimes justified’.

“Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world’s most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are ‘never justified’; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent.

“Do these findings mean that Americans are closet terrorist sympathizers?

“Hardly. Yet, far too often, Americans and other Westerners seem willing to draw that conclusion about Muslims. Public opinion surveys in the United States and Europe show that nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists. Given the many radicals who commit violence in the name of Islam around the world, that’s an understandable polling result.”

A recent poll indicates that a staggering majority of the people in the world, of all religious persuasions, are peace-loving and oppose terrorism. A very small number of religious fanatics on all sides, seemingly aided and abetted by myopic political leadership, are holding the world to ransom.

In a recent joint BBC World Service-Sydney Morning Herald poll, 52 per cent said conflicting interests were the primary reason for tensions between Islam and the West, compared with 29 per cent who thought religion and culture were to blame.

“A global majority, according to the poll, rejects the idea, popularised by the American academic Samuel P. Huntington, of an inevitable clash of civilisations based on religion and culture.

“A poll-topping 68 per cent of Australians blamed ‘intolerant minorities on both sides’ of the Islam/West divide for stirring up tensions. Only one in 10 Australians surveyed blamed intolerant Muslims exclusively.

” ‘Two out of three people in Australia understand that there are those on all sides of this question who just love to stir’,” said Paul Korbel, of Market Focus International, the pollster that conducted the survey here.

“Of all people surveyed, twice as many (56 per cent) believe ‘common ground can be found’ as those who see violent conflict between Islam and the West as inevitable (28 per cent).

“Despite the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the debacle in Iraq, and tensions between Islam and other faiths that are frequently highlighted by politicians and the media, most people remain optimistic.

“While the world’s problems are seen as fundamentally political and economic in nature, most of those polled in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe also blamed intolerant minorities for stirring up tensions. Australians in particular (80 per cent) were inclined to this view.”
The Christian Science Monitor provides different dimensions of the poll as reported in the media.

I came across another interesting site which talked about jihad. Please click here to read more.

For details of the BBC poll result click here.