Extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics. However, opinions of al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, are consistently negative; only in Nigeria do Muslims offer views that are, on balance, positive toward al Qaeda and bin Laden.
Hezbollah receives its most positive ratings in Jordan, where 55% of Muslims have a favorable view; a slim majority (52%) of Lebanese Muslims also support the group, which operates politically and militarily in their country.
But Muslim views of Hezbollah reflect a deep sectarian divide in Lebanon, where the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is threatening violence if a United Nations tribunal indicts Hezbollah members for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. More than nine-in-ten (94%) Lebanese Shia support the organization, while an overwhelming majority (84%) of Sunnis in that country express unfavorable views.
In neighboring Egypt and Turkey, attitudes toward Hezbollah are generally negative. Just 30% of Muslims in Egypt, and even fewer (5%) in Turkey, offer favorable views of the Lebanon-based organization. Outside of Turkey and the Middle East, many
Muslims cannot rate Hezbollah, but views are on balance positive among those who do offer an opinion of the group in Nigeria and Indonesia.
The survey, conducted April 12 to May 7 by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, finds that the Palestinian organization Hamas, which, like Hezbollah, has been classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other Western governments, also receives mixed ratings across the Muslim publics surveyed. Jordanian Muslims express the most support – 60% have a favorable view of Hamas – while Muslims in Turkey offer the least positive ratings (9% favorable and 67% unfavorable). Opinions of Hamas are nearly evenly split in Egypt and Lebanon.
In most countries, views of Hamas and Hezbollah have changed little, if at all, since 2009. In Indonesia, however, more Muslims express favorable views of both groups now than did so last year; 39% now have positive views of Hamas, compared with 32% last year, and 43% have favorable opinions of Hezbollah, compared with 29% in 2009. And among Nigerian Muslims, favorable views of both Hamas and Hezbollah are now less common than they were in 2009 (49% vs. 58% and 45% vs. 59%, respectively).
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for graphs and full report in pdf.