After bin Laden’s death: Anti-Americanism rises, but support for al Qaeda declines

Published: May 2, 2012
Large majorities of Muslims view al Qaeda unfavourably. PHOTO: FILE

Large majorities of Muslims view al Qaeda unfavourably. PHOTO: FILE


A year after Osama bin Laden was captured from Abbottabad in a unilateral American raid, the country has witnessed a rise in anti-US sentiments, but also a simultaneous drop in support for al Qaeda and its leader.

The Abbottabad raid did not have a major impact on the incidence of terrorism in Pakistan but definitely increased anti-United States sentiment amongst the public, said an intelligence official while speaking to The Express Tribune.

Anti-US sentiments may not be rampant amongst the population, since there are no credible statistics to prove either way, but a remarkable rise in anti-US rhetoric by right-wing groups was witnessed post-bin Laden raid, the intelligence official said.

He was seconded by defence analyst Brigadier (retd) Farooq Hameed Khan, who has also served at the defence section of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

There is no palpable rise in extremism since the bin Laden raid but there has been a substantial increase in anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, Khan said while talking to The Express Tribune.

The US did not release any photograph or video of the Abbottabad raid which raises question about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad at the time of the operation, he added.

Meanwhile, the Abbottabad commission has yet to complete its report on the incident.

The nation anxiously awaits the report and hopes it will help answer the questions people have about this highly-secretive operation, Khan added.

Waning support

A year after the death of its leader, al Qaeda is widely unpopular among Muslim publics.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, conducted March 19 to April 13, 2012, finds majorities – and mostly large majorities – expressing negative views of al Qaeda in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon. The chart above illustrated the findings.

Support for bin Laden, however, had waned considerably among Muslims around the world even before his death.

21% of Pakistanis expressed confidence in bin Laden to do the right thing in world affairs in 2011, down from a high of 52% in 2005.

Confidence in bin Laden amongst Muslims also saw a decline in Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, the survey findings reveal. (With additional input from news desk)

Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • F KhanF
    May 2, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Lets say like this…most of the muslims agree with OBL on the issues pertaining to the muslim world… specially viz a viz the west… but the solution he chose….killing and that even the innocent people…is/was/and will always be wrong. No muslim will/should agree….for what ever reason… killing of innocent people….irrespective of their nationality or religious or political belief.


  • Faizan Afzal
    May 2, 2012 - 12:49PM

    Where is the body ! Huh? Why this kolaveri kolaveri kolaveri di !!!!!


  • Super-Fool KaalCopterTanoli
    May 2, 2012 - 2:16PM

    @Faizan Afzal:
    If people spent their time humoring slow people they wouldn’t have time for anything else. It’s more like a lack of caring about what you believe than the desire to hide it. That same thing applies to 99% of the accusations and requests coming out of Pakistan to other countries.


  • Nasir
    May 2, 2012 - 2:59PM

    @Faizan Afzal: You are a typical Pakistani – everything is a conspiracy . It is because of people like you that pakistan is the laughing stock of the world , while our neighbours have become economic superpowers


  • ali Sarwar
    May 2, 2012 - 3:23PM

    There will be time ahead after 20 to 30 years the muslim world will consider OBL as there hero and will accept all his doing as right because the whole muslim world is going to collide in confrontation with each other specially the middle east and the west will acquire all the resources from Marcco to Indonesa.

    The west uses carrot and stick policy in middle east which never allows to build strong democratic instituation in Arab world and in sub continent (opposition to Iran-Pakistan pipe line efforts are example).

    OBL was doing the right effort in the wrong way


  • Cautious
    May 2, 2012 - 7:27PM

    21% of Pakistanis expressed confidence
    in bin Laden to do the right thing in
    world affairs in 2011, down from a
    high of 52% in 2005.

    Supporting a mass murderer It apparently doesn’t matter that OBL started this mess over the misguided belief that infidels were defiling holy soil in Saudi Arabia. It didn’t matter that America stood by the Saudi’s when they were invaded by Iraq (something OBL didn’t’ do) and it didn’t matter that the military base in Saudi Arabia was put there at the bequest of the Saudi’s to deter further aggression by Iraq – what mattered is that the troops weren’t Muslim.Recommend

    May 3, 2012 - 1:42AM

    Rubbish. OBL remains a hero to Muslim masses all over the world, despite disagreeing with AQ’s tactics.


  • Super-Fool KaalCopterTanoli
    May 3, 2012 - 3:20AM

    Of course when their demented hero dies their support for the group will lesson. They just switch to their next most favorite madman’s group. Just look at your political parties. Pakistanis know no concept of loyalty. Just the one talking the loudest that gives them a shoddy reason to not look themselves in the mirror.


  • Super-Fool KaalCopterTanoli
    May 3, 2012 - 3:22AM

    Addition: that’s why anti-Americanism had risen in combination. The hero dies, makes them hate America more and then switches to another group/person who isn’t any better. Like those of DPC, JI, PTI


  • iqbal
    May 6, 2012 - 5:34AM

    very rightly said.we pakistanis have a blaming attitude to cover up our faults & incompetence


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