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July 14, 2005

Don't Expect This to Make the Front Page of the NYT

A recent poll taken in Muslim majority countries (before last week's bombings in London) shows that enthusiasm for violent terror tactics by Islamists is on the wane, as well as support for Osama bin Laden. (Bin Laden's popularity remains highest among young people.)
In Lebanon (search), the number of people who think the use of bombings and other forms of violence is justified in defense of Islam (search) has dropped from 73 percent in the summer of 2002 to 39 percent now. A decrease in this number also was seen in Morocco, which fell from 40 percent a year ago to 13 percent now, and in 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 bombings against Americans and their allies in Iraq dropped from 70 percent to 49 percent in Jordan, which neighbors Iraq, and dropped by smaller margins in Pakistan, Turkey and Morocco.

Also, the polls show more and more citizens of Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Indonesia are thinking that democracy can work in their countries, and that it isn't just a "Western way" of doing things.

Although feelings against the U.S. remain strong, it's encouraging that more and more Middle Easterners are beginning to become disillusioned by bin Laden and the tactics used by his followers. It's also good to know that the idea of democracy is spreading, although it's slower than we'd like it to be.

(See the article on FOXNews.com for more specifics on the poll results.)

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