A majority of Palestinian Muslims say they support suicide bombing as a means to defend Islam from its enemies, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
The poll – released one day before the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – also found that Al Qaeda is “reviled” among a majority of the Muslims surveyed in 11 countries
But in other parts of the Muslim world, only a minority say suicide attacks are justified, according to the study.
Support for suicide bombing and other violence aimed at civilian targets is most widespread in the Palestinian territories, with 62% of Muslims saying that such attacks are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Support is strong both in Hamas-ruled Gaza (64%) and the Fatah-governed West Bank (60%).
Outside the Palestinian territories, “clear majorities of Muslims oppose violence in the name of Islam.”
Many respondents said suicide bombings and terrorist attacks aimed at civilians were never justified, including those asked in Pakistan (89 percent), Indonesia (81 percent), Nigeria (78 percent) and Tunisia (77 percent).
According to Pew, “overall support for violence in the name of Islam has declined among Muslim publics during the past decade.”
“Today, Al Qaeda is widely reviled, with a median of 57 percent across the 11 Muslims publics surveyed saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the terrorist organization that launched the twin attacks on New York City and Washington, DC more than a decade ago,” Pew said.
Sixty-seven percent told the interviewers they are “somewhat or very concerned about Islamic extremism.”
That worry was “even more pronounced” among Lebanese Christians who were surveyed, 92 percent of whom voiced that concern. The sentiment is understandable considering the widespread persecution and killing of Christians in next-door Syria.
Pollsters conducted face-to-face interviews with 8,989 Muslims in March and April in Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian territories, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkey.
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)