62% of Pakistanis 'don't know' how they feel about Islamic State

Published: November 19, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP Fighters of self-styled Islamic State. PHOTO: AFP

Despite an overwhelming negative view of Islamic State in most Muslim countries, Pakistan is an exception with a majority offering no definite opinion of the militant group, according to a new data released by the Pew Research Center.

In Pakistan, 62% of the people do not have a definite opinion on the group that has taken over swathes of land in Syria and Iraq and is responsible for some of the deadliest attacks worldwide, including last week’s Paris attacks.

Of the people surveyed in Pakistan, 28% had a negative view while nine per cent viewed the group positively.

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The data shows a stark contrast to how the Islamic State is viewed in Pakistan as compared to other Muslim countries. Not a single Muslim country had less than 60% people viewing Islamic State negatively other than Pakistan.

SOURCE: PEW RESEARCH CENTRE

The survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 11 countries with noticeable Muslim populations was conducted as part of the center’s annual global poll in April and May this year.

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In Lebanon, a victim of one of the most recent attacks, almost every person surveyed who gave an opinion had an unfavourable view of the group, including 99% with a very unfavorable opinion. The group was viewed unfavourably by all religious groups in the country — Lebanese Sunni Muslims (98% unfavorable) and 100% of Shia Muslims and Lebanese Christians.

Israelis (97%) and Jordanians (94%) were also strongly opposed to IS as of spring 2015, including 91% of Israeli Arabs. Further, 84% in the Palestinian territories had a negative view of IS, both in the Gaza Strip (92%) and the West Bank (79%).

Six-in-ten or more had unfavorable opinions of IS in a diverse group of nations, including Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Malaysia and Senegal.

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In Nigeria, there was alarmingly more support, 14%, for the IS as compared to other countries. But the opinions differed greatly and were affected by religious affiliations. Around 71% Nigerian Christians and 61% Muslims held unfavourable views towards the terrorist group. However, 20% of Nigerian Muslims had favorable views of IS although the country is often torn apart by Boko Haram, an IS-affiliated terrorist group but is a separate entity.

The survey did not ask people living in Western countries, however, more than half of the population in 15 mostly Western countries said they were very concerned about the growing threat of the terrorist IS.

Take for example the case of France, where only last week multiple coordinated attacks were carried out by the IS, 71% had said in spring this year that they were concerned about the IS threat.

SOURCE: PEW RESEARCH CENTRE

Similarly, 77% in Spain, 70% in Germany, 69% in Italy and 68% in America held unfavorable views towards the IS and seemed perturbed by the growing threat of the terrorist group.

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More importantly, the distaste has been growing along with concern in many Western and predominantly Muslim countries surveyed since the start of this decade. Consequently, there seems to be widespread support for the US military action against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria from most of the countries.  In Israel 84% were in favor of the military actions, 81% in France, 80% in the United States, 78% in Lebanon, 77% in Jordan, 66% in the United Kingdom, and 62% in Germany.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • wb
    Nov 19, 2015 - 2:47PM

    This is why it’s important that India joins the OIC. India, with a massive Muslim population is always left out of all important surveys and meetings.

    And Indian government never does anything good to understand the people of their own country.

    So, if we need to understand what our Muslim population feels and thinks, we need to join OIC.

    OIC is otherwise a totally toothless, useless organization. But, in some aspect it can be of great help to India.Recommend

  • lolzzzz
    Nov 19, 2015 - 2:50PM

    What is there to feel? Like killing a human, is that right??Recommend

  • LOL
    Nov 19, 2015 - 4:05PM

    @wb: “So, if we need to understand what our Muslim population feels and thinks, we need to join OIC.”

    As if you really care about your Muslim population, dont even let them eat what they want.

    “OIC is otherwise a totally toothless, useless organization. But, in some aspect it can be of great help to India.”

    Just look at the hypocrisy of these Indians. Recommend

  • Nov 19, 2015 - 4:16PM

    ISIS and US does the same thing and that is killing innocent people. Recommend

  • Asif
    Nov 19, 2015 - 4:19PM

    Not surprising when we look at the extremism level in our general public.Recommend

  • Malang Jan
    Nov 19, 2015 - 4:53PM

    While one cannot deny the high level of penetration of extremist thought in Pakistan, this poll may be misleading, because the majority of the Pakistani people probably do not have a clue about what Daeish is- hence the large percentage of ‘undecided’ pollers!Recommend

  • Ali S
    Nov 19, 2015 - 5:41PM

    This is very bad news.Recommend

  • Shakeel
    Nov 19, 2015 - 6:03PM

    Unless they asked people who knew who ISIS are, this is a pointless poll. In Pakistan our greatest terrorist threat is Taliban and Al Queda, run the same poll about them. Daesh is an unknown entity. Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 19, 2015 - 6:28PM

    Pakistanis won’t tell truth about their feelings. Majority of them hate ISIS and local extremist groups but are afraid to speak their mind. The confusion within them is created by their leaders, generals and intellectuals. None of these groups have permanent policies. Pakistanis don’t know when these groups become tools in the hands of extremists or in the hands of their donors. Recommend

  • Bilal
    Nov 19, 2015 - 6:45PM

    This survey must have conveyed in cholistan desert.Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Nov 19, 2015 - 8:12PM

    So we saying that except Lebanon and Israel, most nations with Muslim population will probably have attacks.Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Nov 19, 2015 - 8:14PM

    @wb:
    There is no need for India to join Oh I See. Nothing good has come out of it.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Nov 19, 2015 - 11:37PM

    I do not believe in this poll. 100% of Pakistanis are against ISIS and their brutal ways.Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 19, 2015 - 11:57PM

    This is embarassing.
    We need to educate and make people accept democratic, gender neutral, and tolerant interpretations of our religion.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Nov 20, 2015 - 1:34AM

    Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the fountain head of extremism in the whole world.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Nov 20, 2015 - 1:34AM

    Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the fountain head of extremism in the whole world.Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Nov 20, 2015 - 3:30AM

    A horde of decoits, murders made a gang and start calling it Islamic State. They appointed Chief murderer as their Khalifa who was once in Abu Ghoraib jail and Americans set him free. All their activities, murder, rape, slaves, selling girls, destroying historical sites, digging graves, eating liver after killing all is un Islamic. The pope rightly said that killing and raising slogan All Akbar is blasphemy. All killings and notorious activities are taking place under Prophet’s(PBUH) flag..It is duty of Media to educate masses and give true picture what is actually happening in Iraq, Syria, Yemen. Nigeria etc.After fulfilling their duty the survey will be worthwhile. Alas our Media is afraid of countries who are helping this gangRecommend

  • HonkyTonk Man
    Nov 20, 2015 - 11:42AM

    “The survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 11 countries with noticeable Muslim populations was conducted as part of the center’s annual global poll in April and May this year”

    A more recent one, based on ISIS’s latest actions, might yield different results. Besides, we already have TTP, ASWJ, LEJ, etc etc to contend with so there is that. Besides, Middle eastern countries have been funding terrorist organizations in Pakistan for so long that as Far as We (Pakistanis) are concerned, ISIS is just the chickens coming home to Roost…
    Which is not to say that there won’t be some in Pakistan who support ISIS, i am sure they will be a sizable population of them.. but not 62% of the Population.
    Anyway, that’s just the view of one Pakistani… Recommend

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