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. MMM

    this article is very biased...it didn't even mention the data that says majority of muslims in these countries support amputation of hands for stealing, stoning to death for adultery, and death for apostasy (conversion from islam to another religion): for example, in egypt, jordan, and pakistan, 84%, 86% and 76% of the population, respectively, support killing apostates who leave islam!!! don't make the mistake of thinking that these are muslims abroad - these same so-called moderate muslims are the ones that migrate to the US and Europe!!!

    December 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  2. Larry AZEEZ

    l preach the word of GOd to the world as me.aqada groups they are all terrorist .they are not pure Muslim.only GOd can make judgement on humankind .org the leader of the world.. U.s.a. is the world leaders.we need to recognise that . With the God proof .

    December 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  3. Muneef


    December 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  4. Muneef

    Words about the Quran:

    December 9, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  5. Muneef

    In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
    "May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You" 
    Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

    December 9, 2010 at 5:24 am |
  6. amanofmanyfaucets

    All the random ranting off topic aside, the most disturbing thing that I find is that virtually all muslims believe that islam should be incorporated into government. What they mean by democracy is an "any religion as long as it is islam" kind of approach. This is what we should fear most about islam. As more muslims immigrate to the US, we will come under increasing pressure to give them special dispensations to extend their beliefs into law. It will happen as it does all over the world. There are actually many seemingly nice muslims. However much like seemingly nice christians who seek to destroy the separation of church and state, they will not be satisfied until they change the world into a single islamist state.

    December 5, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  7. .308

    @ Janet

    About this "terrorists hijacking the religion" drivel. Even if we believe the blatantly optimistic results of the Pew research it's more than 'a few.' But it's incredulous that 1.6 Billion, with a B, Muslims can't 'retrieve' their poor hijacked religion from a 'few' outcasts, or even a few million. In any respect, it's totally of of hand, and we're being forced to deal with the reality of this problem.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  8. Muneef


    December 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • sanevoice

      All those miracles are hallucinating only worth in your dreams. Reality is different, Islam has failed to contain its thugs, the civilized world has taken its responsibility.

      December 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Muneef


      December 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  9. conoclast

    Wouldn't it be nice if the un-radical Muslims were to rise up and officially disown the jihadists? Then the crazies would be denied the fruits of their martyrdom and maybe it would all go away. Seems simple; why won't they do it? Instead, the moderates' pregnant silence only serves to validate the radicals. Is it really "god's will" that there be another crusade?

    December 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • OchoThinko

      @conoclast, Muslims are constantly denouncing terrorism and that is part of the problem at this point. When everyday Muslims, who have nothing to do with terrorism and want to live their lives as every other person, are forced to constantly condemn terrorism that has nothing to do with them, that is creating this false affiliation. Muslim organizations and governments have continually come out publicly and denounced terrorism and all it is doing now is making people affiliate these Muslims with terrorists in their mind. Why should they have to apologize for something they had nothing to do with? Simply because they belong to a group of over 1 billion people? Another difficult issue is with Hamas and Hezbollah. Yes these groups have committed acts of terrorism and those acts are horrendous. But at the same time these groups have legitimate political and social aspects to them that need to be part of any discussions in that region. How are they any different from the IRA in Ireland and its well known association with the political group Sinn Fein that was part of the Belfast Agreement?

      December 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  10. gfgfdgfdgf


    December 4, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  11. G

    government propaganda...all lies

    December 4, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  12. Dave

    Although the reports state that a majority of Muslims reject al Quaeda and suicide bombers,a HUGE number of them still support this senseless violence.
    Show me where any other religions support or practice this kind of insanity?
    Muslims also do not police their own backyards or try to stop the killing.
    They never make a large public expression of sympathy or apology for recent atrocities.
    Don't think I want to be buddy buddy with them.

    December 4, 2010 at 9:49 am |
    • Mu'min

      @Dave I don't think many Christians in this country consulted the Bible before deciding to attack Afghanistan after 9/11. What makes you think supporting organizations that push back at Israeli of the Palestinian territories or foreign intervention in their countries is necessarily a religious matter? You can wrap it up any any package you want, but it still seems to me it's more about self-determination and chucking off the influence of yet another wave of colonialism.

      December 4, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  13. Abdulameer

    Do they reject al Qaeda because they believe it is morally wrong for Moslems to murder non-Moslems, or because they understand that al Qaeda is giving Islam a bad image around the world?

    December 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  14. Zephyr

    Paul, you wrote that the Muslims invented algebra, geometry, and physics. I'm pretty sure the ancient Greeks, before Islam existed, had a pretty good handle on those subjects, even if they were called by other names. Algebra, for example, is named for a Persian mathemetician living in the 800's, who may or may not have been Muslim, but who was building on the stuff taught by Greeks. Please remember that Persians were not Arabs, and did not have the same cultural beliefs, and many resisted the Islamic takeover of their own religion. Also, many Muslim rulers during this age were often more liberal than they are now, and did not force their subjects to convert to Islam, so someone could be living in a nation that was predominantly Muslim and not himself be Muslim. Sort of like in some "Muslim countries" today, where religious minorities are still welcome.

    December 4, 2010 at 8:19 am |
    • sanevoice

      It does not matter who invented fire, it does when we claim space age rockets, missiles, jet's transporting us across globe. It is foolish to mention oft repeated statement which is archaic. For Islam needle is stuck in 7th century, their though process is frozen and are unable to comprehend modern world. They must be rudely awakened to bring peace to this insane Islamic world.

      December 4, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  15. sanevoice

    Why are Muslims not educating themselves or that is the way mullah wanted? All those who educate are migrating to western world and their kids are turning other way around. Mosque and its madrasa are the problem. They want to use western resource to espouse their political agenda. They will fail unless they all get educated become productive citizen and hallucinate less about their past infamy "assumed glory".

    December 4, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  16. Brian Macker

    Yeah, they reject Al Queda now after they've killed so many Muslims, and made their religion look bad by actually practicing it as it is written. The surveys right after 9/11 were quite different when they thought they had shamed the US. Now that Al Queda has had their asses whooped by the US they don't want to be associated with a weak horse. It's not that they've got a problem with terrorism as is proven by the fact they love the other two terrorist organizations.

    December 4, 2010 at 2:37 am |
  17. Sangilli Karuppan

    I am both a racial & religious minority in a Muslim majority country, and, I'm heavily discriminated against because I'm not a Muslim. Hindu temples have been indiscriminately demolished, churches have been torched, Buddhist temples have been destroyed, Why? Because we're soft targets, and, Islam DOES NOT TOLERATE any other belief structure.

    You, westerners, who believe that Islam is tolerant & peaceful are delusional. The muslims put up a show in front of your face because you are white & from the west, all the while hating you in secret. Being dark skinned and not a muslim in a muslim country is a fate worst that hell.

    If I only had the guts, I would have committed suicide a long time ago instead of living this life where I'm treated worse that dog poop.

    December 4, 2010 at 2:07 am |
    • Aanai

      Karuppan, It sounds like you live in Malaysia. The crimes against no-muslims in Malaysia are systematic and state-approved (starting with destruction of temples, reserving jobs only for muslims, etc.) The global media generally highlights only the supposed crimes against muslim minorities; the abject situation of non-muslims in Malaysia, Pakistan, and other muslim countries rarely get the human-rights attention they deserve. Stay strong.

      December 4, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  18. sidney

    now that we've seen where muslims stand when it comes to terrorist organizations. Let's see where americans stand when it comes to their terrorist networks. I would like to see how americans feel about terrorist groups they have been known to support like israel, Black water, tea party, evangelicals, neo-cons

    December 4, 2010 at 1:59 am |
    • .308

      @ sidney

      Do you even attempt to think through what you're going to say before you allow it to *pop* out? Or are you simply parroting some jargon that you're picked-up over time? Don't bother telling.. I think we know.

      December 4, 2010 at 3:48 am |
  19. Younis Mourabi

    This article which allegedly is based on a "survey" probably fulfills Yahoo.com's daily quota of pro-Muslim propaganda. They hate us, actively plot to murder us, we get ticked off and send our tanks through their country, our UAVs through their skies, and our missiles up their noses. If they were lucky enough to become more effective at killing us, we'd probably have to occupy all their lands. When does the bombing of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Mecca start? I want to time the popcorn. . .

    December 4, 2010 at 1:31 am |
  20. slozomby

    go read that poll. in every country except nigeria support for suicide bombing is on the rise over last year.

    religion of peace my @$$

    December 4, 2010 at 1:16 am |
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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.