Muslims offer mixed views on Hamas, Hezbollah, reject al Qaeda
December 3rd, 2010
12:07 PM ET

Muslims offer mixed views on Hamas, Hezbollah, reject al Qaeda

Editor's Note: This report comes from the CNN Wires desk.

Muslims in many parts of the Islamic world overwhelmingly reject al Qaeda, support a large role for their faith in government and believe democracy is preferable to any other kind of political structure, according to a new survey released by Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project.

The study also found falling support for suicide bombings, as well as mixed attitudes towards Hamas and Hezbollah, Islamic groups designated as terrorist organizations by Western governments but which operate extensive social services networks in parts of the Muslim world.

The survey, conducted this spring in Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, found that only in Nigeria did Muslim populations have anything approaching a favorable view of al Qaeda, with 49 percent expressing positive views and 34 percent holding an unfavorable opinion.

At least seven in 10 Muslims had unfavorable views of the group in Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, as did lesser majorities in Jordan and Indonesia, according to the study.

But views of Hamas and Hezbollah were more mixed. Both groups got favorable ratings from a majority of Jordanian Muslims, with 60 percent supporting Hamas and 55 percent holding favorable views of Hezbollah, Pew reported.

Hezbollah received a narrow 52 percent favorable rating in its home base of Lebanon. But that slim majority belies deep divisions across Islamic sects in Lebanon, with 94 percent of Shia supporting Hezbollah and 84 percent of Sunnis looking on the group unfavorably.

Muslims in every nation but Turkey expressed a positive feeling about Islam's influence in their nation's politics. More than nine in 10 Indonesian Muslims said its influence is positive, as did more than eight in 10 Egyptian and Nigerian Muslims. In Jordan, 76 percent of Muslims approved of Islam's influence, as did 69 percent in Pakistan and 58 percent in Lebanon.

In Turkey, 38 percent had a positive opinion of Islam's influence in political life.

At the same time, majorities of Muslims in every country but Turkey said they were concerned about Islamic extremism in the world and their own countries.

Democracy was favored by a majority of Muslims in every country but Pakistan, although even there it received the largest share of responses. Lebanese Muslims were most favorable toward democracy, followed by those in Turkey, Jordan, Nigeria, Indonesia and Egypt.

Support for suicide bombing had also fallen by double digits since 2002 in every country except Turkey, where it was never well-received among Muslims, according to the study.

The survey also found support for gender segregation in the workplace in Pakistan, Egypt and Jordan and positive views of harsh punishments for various crimes in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan.

The survey was conducted April 12 to May 7. In each of the countries except Pakistan, the sample was nationwide with a 4 percentage point sampling error. In Pakistan, respondents were predominantly urban and the sampling error was 3 percentage points.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Muslim

soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. Mark J.

    from article:
    Muslims in many parts of the Islamic world overwhelmingly reject al Qaeda, support a large role for their faith in government and believe democracy is preferable to any other kind of political structure.....
    I'm not sure how democracy can co-exist with Sharia law, but this will not fly here in the US, where we have Separation of Church/Mosque and State.

    This is the dilemma with moderate Muslims and western/democratic cultures.... as soon as Sharia law is passed, moderate Muslims are automatically transformed into a non-moderate, western culture/democratic conflicting Muslim.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  2. JohnRJ08

    Until Muslims realize that religious tolerance goes hand-in-hand with secular government, they will never be able to address the tendency in their culture to radicalize.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  3. daoud

    Dear DeAguaDulce!
    I can give you many answers about what islam truly is but since you are a fool will not understand and the best way to answer a fool is to be quite.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • DeAguaDulce

      Then why did you respond?

      December 4, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • DeAguaDulce

      You follow a dead man and hope for victory in his name, thinking that if you keep saying "Peace be upon him" or bless him in countless ways your sins will be forgiven (what is is? ten sins forgiven for every blessing? - good thawab, eh?). ut you have rejected the only hope for humanity and for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.

      December 4, 2010 at 12:32 am |
    • Younis Mourabi

      It is for each individual to decide what islam is. Every suicide bombing helps clarify this ideology for millions of Americans. Keep up the good jihad, and I'll keep looking for ways to help you access your 72 virgin piglets.

      December 4, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  4. Minhaj Akhter Khan

    I am Pakistani and I strongly condemns activities of Al-Qaida. We are peaceful people and we are infected so much terrorism & suicide bombing done by Taliban.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  5. Flyover

    So you mean all muslims are not terrorists – as our media and govt keeps reinforcing the stereotype.
    I am shocked that even CNN is reporting on the survey.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  6. Flyover

    So you mean all muslims are not terrorissts – as our media and govt keeps reinforcing the stereotype.
    I am shocked that even CNN is reporting on the survey.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  7. Roger Mudd

    Who could ever place any credibility to anything any muslim says. Surveys – relying on one – you must be joking. Deceit is fundamental to the muslim thinking – it is fine against the infidel. Just read about mohammed – from islamic literature – violence, unbridled lust, greed, loot, exploitation, slavery – all the legacy of this diabolical belief system. The biggest problems the world faces is the scourge of islam and the environment.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
    • DeAguaDulce

      Lying is also ok if it's to your wife - i.e. to make her happy (Of course I love you!) or to spare someone's feelings (No! The doctor said you're gonna live) as well as to the infidel (Islam is the religion of peace!).

      December 4, 2010 at 12:45 am |
  8. DeAguaDulce

    Hmmm...I write historically accurate information about the religion of Islam and CNN deletes it. Must have offended someone. Cowards!

    December 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • .308


      Go to some older strings and look for Sum Dude's and Reality's guidelines to avoid 'moderation.' CNN uses an archaic word filter. Examples are listed on how to get around it and what words you can and cannot say. Nobody is actually 'reviewing' your post when that happens. Better luck in the future. We've all been there.

      December 4, 2010 at 3:33 am |
  9. The Nerve Center

    "At least seven in 10 Muslims had unfavorable views of the group in Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, as did lesser majorities in Jordan and Indonesia, according to the study".
    OK, so "only" 20 to 30 % of people in these contries have unfavorable views of Al Qaeda. And that's a good thing??? Almost a third of them might "favor" Al Qaeda! Am I the only one who see a bigger problem here than this article states? We're supposed to feel good that 7 or 8 out of 10 Muslims think unfavorable of them. That's tens of millions of people in those countries that favor Al Qaeda! Not good.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • Mark J.

      Good point... and a valid cause for concern.

      December 4, 2010 at 1:12 am |
  10. freeddoom

    what is all this obsession with moslems??? why not have a survey to see if jews reject zionism and americans reject mass murder and invasion of other countries???

    December 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • DeAguaDulce

      Ummm, we do. Only the criminally insane in this country accept mass murder, as opposed to 30% of Muslims.

      December 4, 2010 at 12:23 am |
  11. here we go....

    America has no more room to grow, and nothing to gain but everything to lose. How can there not be conflict? What's in the Koran is irrelevant in the end, the kind of talk would be the same if Buddhist or Hindus did 9/11 because it comes from fear. Exactly what the terrorists want from US.

    You want to "win" the war on terror? Then stop being afraid. But that won't happen, American life is how it is now because they can push our fear button so easily. Government and corporations love fear because its a pressure point to manipulate us.

    Realize that it isn't the body count that matters in the end, but dollars spent, and in this respect we are losing the war on terror. Or you can spend time picking apart your enemys holy book looking for more reasons to be afraid of them. That's your choice

    December 3, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • DeAguaDulce

      I agree. Even when they fail they win, because of our fear. Just look and the Christmas Day underwear bomber. He succeeded only in burning his own weenie to ashes and we panicked. They won, because we panicked and chose less freedom by way of more pat-downs, etc.

      December 4, 2010 at 12:21 am |
  12. DeAguaDulce

    The above was intended for amust.

    December 3, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  13. kls817

    Yet you never see muslims in their countries standing up for the rights of religious minorities; they continue to persecute them mercilessly. And muslims never speak out emphatically against terrorism; terrorists still are considered heroes when they kill non-muslims. Most muslims may not want al-qaeda taking away some of their freedoms, but they certainly like it when they attack non-muslims.

    December 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  14. Iqbal khan


    December 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
    • sanevoice

      This proves once again, there are nut cases in every society..

      December 4, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  15. Nowthatsrigh

    It is sad that so many gullible people would lend any credence at all to this "survey" in the ME (or virtually any 'news' outlets for that matter). Given that the survey was carried out by PEW and that it is acceptable for M.'s to lie to the infidels....well I am sure you can figure out the rest...........

    December 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • sanevoice

      This proves once again, there are nut cases in every society.

      December 4, 2010 at 7:05 am |
  16. Ron

    To think that Muslims would honestly answer this type of PC poll is idiotic. Moderate Muslims need to be heard and seen IF they really condemn violence toward other religions. Until this happens, I will be inclined to believe what we all can see in deeds and in their teachings (to kill all infidels).

    December 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  17. ROple

    Let me but into this way; How many of you guys support the US government for their invasions agains the moslim world?
    see, thats like 60-70% of the americans. they are supporting Hamas and hizbulah because they are deffending their lives right in front doors. And btw the bigest problem here is people don't know each other, and the only way to end this is to have judgment for your own and not to wait some to decide who is the enemy for you by choice.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Ron

      A typical Muslim argument, but not on point. The question is do mainstream Muslims support terrorist groups? The answer is basically..Yes. Other religions do not support terrorist groups. Fairly simple.

      December 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  18. Jake

    Wonder how many of these Muslims that so called reject Al Qaeda would be partying in the streets cheering if the US was eve hit by another terrorist attack like they did on 9/11. Pew can spin how tolerant Muslims supposedly are, but the pictures of how much the Muslims hate us don't lie.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • youdontknowsquat

      id party in the streets if you were able to rub 2 brain cells together

      December 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • minto

      i think out of the people surveying against al-qaeda, there would be more people just hoping and crossing fingers and praying that the terrorist attack on the US did not involve any muslims than the people partying.

      December 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  19. Jake

    Muslim, Christian, Or Druid, who's gonna answer a survey that they support suicide bombings and terrorist organizations. In most of these surveys, the whole point is not to find out anything new but prove the point the group sponsoring the survey wants to put out there. Look at the good peaceful Muslims who don't want to kill the infidels. Get 'em drunk at a bar- then see what they think about AlQueda, jihadists, and suicide bombers and what they wish would be done to Israel. I've heard Muslims in the US who put on a very pc Americanized demeanor, but what they say amongst themselves are things like they wish someone would nuke Israel and all the Christians are going burn in hell.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • minto

      wow how easily have you interpreted the thoughts and ideas of a 5 million american muslims . First of all a true muslim would never be drunk at a bar, secondly it is because of fear of people like you (who always think muslims are evil and never trust muslim words) they fear to come out and speak in public, being afraid of retaliation even for saying " muslims are against terrorism". Because of the way you assimilate all muslims under one banner of a common ideology, peace loving muslims dont even bother to speak out how they feel (because they are afraid people will not trust them). Next you gonna say the interfaith events that happen between jews and muslims are a propaganda.
      To back up your claim your gonna put a statement from the quran " kill the infidels wherever you find them" without bothering to understand the context of this statement like many other al-qaeda terrorist do. You will not even mention the verse where it says " Those who believe, the Jews, Christians and Sabians – any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord. They need not fear, nor shall they grieve" chapter 2 verse 62.

      December 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • youdontknowsquat

      You sir are a xenophobe, no one hates you pal because no one cares to know you, there are 350 million Americans, and there are over 1 billion Muslims, many Muslims are even of American decent lmao you are a relic of ignorant rigid minded days and although there are still many hicks like you out there, that number is dwindling. but who cares about you opinion Jake, i think you dont have the capacity to fully understand anything past what you know, good luck living the sticks

      December 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  20. JB

    too bad they're all lying to the pollsters.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.