Friday, May 05, 2006

Newly released Gallup poll:

Yesterday, tucked away in a little 'box', the Wall Street Journal reported on a Gallup poll that was released recently. It was a preliminary result of a two year poll set in the Middle East intendend to gauge views of moderate and extreme Muslims.

One of the findings showed that support for extremism was on the rise in countries such as Morocco, Iran and Turkey, but was declining in places such as Pakistan and Lebanon.

An interesting point was that for the minority of Muslims who felt that the September 11, 2001 were 'mostly or completely' justified, their opinions weren't fueled by Islamic views or poverty, but came from a feeling of being controlled by the U.S. The Gallup poll question "what is your greatest fear",was answered to by poltical radicals as "occupation/U.S. domination" and by moderates as lack of security and concerns about crime.

Another interesting note was that the political radicals were actually more affluent, and more educated than the moderates. The conclusion in the WSJ article was that the "root cause of extremism wasn't religious rhetoric".

While moderates felt that the West did not respect Islam, the political radicals felt that the religion was also threatened.

This brings up a couple of questions to me;

First, why is extremism on the rise in Morocco and Turkey? Iran is to be expected. What is the current domestic political and economic situation in those countries?

Secondly, how exactly do the political radicals exactly feel that they are going to be dominated or controlled by the U.S.? Most people in the Middle East are already controlled by their own governments so what is the connection?

Thirdly, how do the political radicals feel that Islam is being threatened?

Lastly, what defines a political radical?

I wanted to check out the survey myself but the gallup international link was 'not found' so it might be temporarily out of commission. I will try again later and continue this post.

Poll and survey findings are always interesting, but often they give me more questions than answers. I hope to answer these ones.

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