WASHINGTON – People in several heavily Muslim countries have lost some of their enthusiasm for Osama bin Laden and for violent acts like suicide bombings, international polling found.
Surveys conducted for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press looked at attitudes of people living in Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey, all countries with Muslim majorities, as part of a survey of 17 countries done this spring.
In Lebanon, the number of people who think the use of suicide bombing and other forms of violence is justified in defense of Islam has dropped from 73 percent in the summer of 2002 to 39 percent now. Decreases in this number also were seen in Morocco – which fell from 40 percent a year ago to 13 percent now – Pakistan and Indonesia. In Jordan, the number of people who feel such violence is justified has grown slightly; the number in Turkey remains very low.
Since March 2004, the sentiment for suicide bombing against Americans and their allies in Iraq dropped from 70 percent to 49 percent in Jordan and dropped by smaller margins in Pakistan, Turkey, and Morocco.
The polling was done before the terrorist bombings in London last week.
Public confidence in bin Laden has dipped sharply since May 2003 in Indonesia, Morocco, Lebanon and Turkey – all countries that have experienced recent terrorist bombings. In Pakistan and Jordan, a majority of people continue to say they have at least some confidence in bin Laden.