On Anniversary of bin Laden’s Death, Little Backing of al Qaeda
A year after the death of its leader, al Qaeda is widely unpopular among Muslim publics. Majorities in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon expressed negative views of the terrorist group.
U.S. Image in Pakistan Falls No Further Following bin Laden Killing
Most Pakistanis see the U.S. as an enemy, consider it a potential military threat and oppose American-led anti-terrorism efforts. A majority also describes bin Laden’s death as a bad thing and many say it will have a negative impact on the already strained relations between the U.S. and their country.
Obama Bump Recedes a Bit
Barack Obama’s job approval rating has fallen slightly since the day after Osama bin Laden’s death was announced. But the balance of opinion regarding Obama’s job performance remains more positive than it was in early April. There also continues to be more optimism about the U.S. achieving its goals in Afghanistan than there was prior to bin Laden’s killing.
Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah
While Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics around the globe, opinions of al Qaeda and bin Laden are consistently negative. Meanwhile, most Muslims surveyed welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ politics, and most also say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.
Obama More Popular Abroad than at Home, Global Image of U.S. Continues to Benefit
The president gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from the world (with the notable exception of the U.S.) for the way he has handled the world economic crisis. Obama’s personal popularity remains high, as do favorable views of the U.S. In a striking difference from the Bush years, while many around the world disagree with Obama’s foreign policies, the U.S. image has not been significantly dented as a result. Muslim countries, however, continue to hold a negative view of America and most also give Obama unfavorable ratings.
Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations
A survey of Muslims in eight countries and the Palestinian territories finds little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations, little support for Muslim political leaders and the widespread perception of a Sunni-Shia conflict. Most Muslims are also convinced there is a struggle between modernization and fundamentalists, and publics overwhelmingly support educating girls and boys equally.
Declining Support for bin Laden and Suicide Bombing
Confidence in al Qaeda’s leader has dropped considerably in recent years, particularly in Indonesia, Pakistan and Jordan. Violence against civilians in defense of Islam is also increasingly seen as never justified.
Confidence in Obama Lifts U.S. Image Around the World
In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well. Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries.
Few in Pakistan Support Extremists — But Few Favor Military Confrontation
Extremist groups are increasingly demonstrating their ability to strike throughout a country in which support for al Qaeda or the Taliban has declined sharply in recent years and where very few agree with their widely noted tactic of preventing education for girls.
Unfavorable Views of Both Jews and Muslims Increase in Europe
Publics that view Jews unfavorably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light. However, the trend in negative views toward Muslims in Europe has occurred over a longer period of time than recently growing anti-Semitic sentiment.