This Pew Global Attitudes Research Report is being widely reported as showing a steep decline in support for terrorism in Islamic countries. This is certainly true in some places, like Indonesia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Morocco. Somewhat weirdly, however, support for terrorism seems to be growing in Jordan.
It seems obvious that as mass murder moves from fantasy to reality, it will become less popular. No one really wants to live in a world in which boarding a subway means risking random death. So, in the medium term, let alone the long term, the terrorists are doomed to unpopularity, isolation and defeat. The current Pew survey seems to confirm that this trend is well underway. It also shows substantial and growing support for democracy in Islamic countries, which I think it is fair to attribute mostly to the Iraq war, which continues to reap substantial dividends around the world.
There is, of course, one huge black hole in Islamic attitudes: Israel and the Jews. The Pew survey indicates that there are two countries where most respondents say that “violence against civilian targets” is justified either “sometimes” or “rarely”–Lebanon and Jordan. By a less-than-stunning non-coincidence, it turns out that in those two countries, views of Jews are 0% favorable, and either 99% (Lebanon) or 100% (Jordan) unfavorable. Gosh. I wonder what violence against civilians those respondents consider “justified.” I suppose not violence against themselves.
So the picture continues to be mixed; there are grave pathologies in the Muslim world, but the picture is improving, in some countries, rapidly so. The Iraq war deserves some of the credit, I think, with ongoing exposure to the reality of terrorism responsible for the rest.
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