07/02/2014, 00.00
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Concern about religious extremism is growing even in Muslim countries

A survey by the Pew Research Center, based on interviews with 14,200 people in 14 countries, shows that fear of Islamic extremism is growing almost everywhere. About 92 per cent of Lebanese, 62 per cent of Jordanians and half of Turks are worried. Strong majorities in Bangladesh (69 per cent), Pakistan (66 per cent) and Malaysia (63 per cent) share that fear. More than half of the Palestinians have an unfavorable opinion of Hamas.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The fear of Islamic extremism is growing in mostly Muslim countries from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, this according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, a well-respected US-based think tank, that interviewed 14,200 people in 14 countries between 10 April and 25 May, that is before the latest events in Iraq.

The research shows that groups like Boko Haram and al-Qaeda but also Hamas and Hezbollah are losing support. The same applies to suicide bombings against civilians.

Thus, in Lebanon, a country bordering Syria, 92 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about Islamic extremism. The figure is 11 per cent higher than last year and is equal among Sunnis, Shias and Christians.

Concern has also grown in Jordan and Turkey, countries that share borders with Syria. Among Jordanians, 62 per cent are worried about extremism - an increase of 13 points compared to 2012. The same trend is found among Turks, where concern grew by 18 per cent compared with two years ago.

Outside of the Middle East, "strong majorities in Bangladesh (69 per cent), Pakistan (66 per cent) and Malaysia (63 per cent) are concerned about Islamic extremism." However, in Indonesia, only about four in ten (39 per cent) share this view.

As for attitudes towards Islamist groups, a large majority of Nigerians (79 per cent) is against Boko Haram, whilst 59 per cent of Pakistanis says they have no lost love for the Taliban.

Among Palestinians, just over half (53 per cent) have a favorable opinion of Hamas, a percentage that rises to 63 per cent in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas rules.

Only 46 per cent of Palestinians justifies suicide bombings against civilians, sharply down from 70 per cent in 2007.

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