Who Supports Terrorism?

June 4, 2007
Posted by Jay Livingston
Not long ago, I blogged about the reaction to a Pew Research Center poll of American Muslims. Generally, the media ignored the story entirely. What coverage there was mostly emphasized that American Muslims, in their attitudes and values, were very similar to the rest of Americans.
The far right, however, was apoplectic, accusing the mainstream media of deliberately downplaying one frightening finding: Only 69% of younger Muslims (age 18-29) refused to say that violence was “never justified.” That means, as Rush Limbaugh put it, “Almost a third of young American Muslims who support in one way or another homicide bombings.”
Do you personally feel that this kind of violence [suicide bombing and other violence against civilians] is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?
Here are the results:
Often 2%
Sometimes 13%
Rarely 11%
Never 69%
Don't Know or N/A 5%
(Note that in order to boost the percent to almost a third, Limbaugh classified the “Don’t Know or No Answer” responses as supporting terrorism.)

In my posting, I wondered what percentage of US Christians might feel that such violence in defense of Christianity might be justified. I still don’t have any data on Christians, but I did find a survey that found a group even more supportive of terrorism than were the US Muslims. The survey question was nearly identical, except that it left out the part about defending Islam
Some people think that bombing and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified while others think that this kind of violence is never justified. Do you think that such attacks are . . . .justified?
Here are the results:
Often 5%
Sometimes 19%
Rarely 27%
Never 46%
Don't Know or N/A 3%

Who were these bloodthirsty terrorism-justifying extremists? Americans. A representative cross-section of the US population. By comparison with the hotheaded Muslim youth, the average American was more likely to to say that bombing civilians was
“often” or “sometimes” justified, and far less likely to say that it was never justified.

Here's a chart showing the comparison (my apologies for the tiny scale. Size matters, but I can't figure out how to make charts larger):

1 comment:

S.S.Stone said...

"the average American was more likely to to say that bombing civilians was “often” or “sometimes” justified,"- just shocking! I'm truly surprised ...I wonder how Canadians would come out in such a survey. In no way should terroism ever be justified but possibly American response is due in part to attacks they've faced (homeland and abroad) where as Canadian response may be quite different never having been attacked at home.