Study: Muslims hate terrorism, too


Desperate Iraqi women at the Khazair displacement camp for those caught up in the fighting in and around the city of Mosul, wait for food and other items being dispensed by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society on June 30, 2014, in Khazair, Iraq. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a new study released Tuesday, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that "concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations." This comes at a particularly fraught moment in the Middle East: the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seized whole swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a new caliphate.

The study involved over 14,000 respondents in 14 countries and was conducted between April and May -- before ISIS's dramatic advance through Iraq this past month. But it underscores the growing fear and anger felt by many in Muslim-majority countries when facing a range of militant threats, from that of Boko Haram in Nigeria to ISIS to the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan.

Fear about terrorism has spiked in a host of countries, most conspicuously Lebanon, which has watched the spillover of Syria's brutal civil war rekindle longstanding sectarian tensions at home. Syrian refugees now make up a quarter of Lebanon's population.

There's little love for al-Qaeda and its Sunni extremist agenda, which runs parallel to ISIS.

Nor is there much support for Hezbollah, a militant Shiite organization based in Lebanon that has involved itself in the Syrian war and militant activities elsewhere.

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.

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