Forever Under Construction

Polls & Pins

Posted in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Islam, News, Pakistan, Things by homeyra on February 25, 2007

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Christian Science Monitor: The myth of Muslim support for terror, by Kenneth Ballen, founder and president of Terror Free Tomorrow:

“According to a 2006 survey, conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Public Attitudes:

usa.jpg46% of Americans think that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified”
24% believe these attacks are “often or sometimes justified”

2006 polling results by Terror Free Tomorrow from the world’s most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria:

pin-indonesia.jpg74% of respondents in Indonesia
86% in Pakistan
81% in Bangladesh agreed that terrorist attacks are “never justified

… nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorists. Given the many radicals who commit violence in the name of Islam around the world, that’s an understandable polling result.


But these stereotypes, affirmed by simplistic media coverage and many radicals themselves, are not supported by the facts – and they are detrimental to the war on terror … it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalizing critical allies in the war on terror.

Terror Free Tomorrow‘s 20-plus surveys of Muslim countries in the past two years reveal another surprise:

Even among the minority who indicated support for terrorist attacks and Osama bin Laden, most overwhelmingly approved of specific American actions in their own countries.


71% of bin Laden supporters in Indonesia
79% in Pakistan, thought more favorably of the USA as a result of American humanitarian assistance in their countries – not exactly the profile of hard-core terrorist sympathizers. For most people, their professed support of terrorism/bin Laden can be more accurately characterized as a kind of “protest vote” against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti- American or anti-Western view …
“… Our surveys show that not only do Muslims reject terrorism as much if not more than Americans, but even those who are sympathetic to radical ideology can be won over by positive American actions that promote goodwill and offer real hope.
America’s goal, in partnership with Muslim public opinion, should be to defeat terrorists by isolating them from their own societies … build on our common humanity …” here is the article.

australia.jpg“Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself.” Aldous Huxley
Thx PpGg

World flag label pins
Label Pin Collection
…. much more


18 Responses

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  1. peoplesgeography said, on February 25, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    🙂 I’ve restored those quotes and sent them to you.

    Just catching up and great to see this post featured here and at Monte’s.

    Thanks also for the lapel pin links. I have pins for a handful of countries (such as Lebanon and Palestine) to wear in solidarity and will seek to get the Iranian one also. I’ll send you a pic when I do. 😉

    X Ann

  2. homeyra said, on February 25, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you PPGG! got them.
    Will write them down somewhere safe now 🙂 These little objects have a story of their own, they create a miniature world of friendship!

  3. Manas said, on February 25, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    I would have loved to see how Indians would react to these questions.

  4. homeyra said, on February 25, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Manas, I guess you can contact the organization and ask them if they had a survey in India. It would be more interesting to see their studies.

  5. 99 said, on February 25, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    I actually think it is great to see how many people in the US seem to have an idea that terrorists are not doing this stuff for the fun of it, a possible recognition that our policies around the world might drive some people to such extremes. And, as someone who probably has to literally explode in front of her mother in order to make her see beyond her selfish little mental world, I, of course, can fathom it.

    It’s like the random freeway shootings here. Everyone was wringing their hands, wondering what the… such senselessness! I thought they were all crazy. Anyone who’s ever had to be somewhere and was prevented by a monster traffic jam, especially if that keeps happening every day, knows precisely what motivated the freeway killings.

    While nobody, but maybe the poor Palestinians and Iraqis, could exactly condone this stuff, many can understand it.

    A real war on terror would be where such murderous injustices were stopped forever, and where all nations united against terrorism WITHIN THEIR JUSTICE SYSTEMS not their militaries. As it is, the GWOT is a filthy ruse. Its purpose is to create MORE terror, not less, and certainly not none.

  6. Manas said, on February 25, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    There’s an idea. I’ll try that.

  7. brando said, on February 25, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Everyone’s accountable for what they do. Terrorism is based on the “look what you made me do” concept. When the adult concept is “look what I chose to do”.

    The concept of “creating” or “causing” terrorists ignores the truth that people are sentient beings.

  8. homeyra said, on February 25, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Brando
    The term “terrorism” has been used for a larger spectrum that I would have expected. For instance from the little I know from the IRA, killers and ordinary people were tagged as “terrorists”.
    I am sure what you say is valid for some of the “terrorists”, specially when big money is involved, though I have no idea of any %!!
    “A real war on terror would be where such murderous injustices were stopped forever, and where all nations united against terrorism WITHIN THEIR JUSTICE SYSTEMS not their militaries. ” Nothing to add!
    let us know if you find more info from these guys.
    Tu all

  9. naj said, on February 26, 2007 at 12:21 am

    This is an interesting poll; and perhaps even more poignet if the questions were present next to the results.

    But let’s put these polls aside and ask a simple question about American culture. Does it “validate” and “justify” violence? I tend to think yes! I think if that were not the case, America would not have engaged in bloodiest wars of this century, in Viet Nam, Korea, Cambodia, Iraq, Serbia, even Japan! The fact that Americans do not hold their governmeny accountable for bloody intereference in the internal affairs of, say, Chili, or Nicaragua speaks in favor of these poll results.

    But let’s put politics aside. What do popular shows such as the Survivor tell about America’s moral redlines?

    I have been worrying about the mushroom popularity of these shows since 10 years ago. I have been fearing that they are pushing the boundaries of “acceptable” beyong decent; that they are making a Naziesque mentality that validates “the right” of survival for the fittest culturally acceptable. This poll is thus worrisom. America needs to take a deep look at itself.

  10. 99 said, on February 26, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Well, Naj, I can’t argue with you here… except to say I really think we would hold our government accountable for that stuff if enough of use knew about it. Between the sickening strangle-hold on our mass media and the citizens heedless absorption in their own lives, the government always gets away with it. Now, if we were starving, I think that would be a different story. Then the government would have great difficulty getting away with this stuff. We’re all so fat, without even the idea that we are this privileged, like kids who are clueless about what it takes to make your way in the world, that we don’t have enough reason to be suspicious of what the government tells us through the lapdog media.

    It terrifies me.

  11. 99 said, on February 26, 2007 at 12:44 am


    I think you’re wrong about what terrorism is based on, but I completely agree about it being a choice, about everything we do being our choice. You have to think about the intensity of altruism that blends with the intensity of frustration over one’s own powerlessness that motivates one to stop caring about one’s own safety enough to engage in such acts. It’s not at all as petulant as you portray it. They don’t care at all about what the world thinks of them. They are way past that by the time it comes to deciding to actively engage in terrorism.

    It’s moot anyway because the bulk of the terrorism has been co-opted by governments and intelligence services now. Even the people who would be terrorists of their own volition, not being goaded and entrapped by the fiends covertly nurturing this stuff, have no reason to form their own organizations because there is such ready access to the organizations that are operated covertly by states.

  12. homeyra said, on February 26, 2007 at 1:05 am

    I have never lived in the USA to really take part in much of what you wrote about Naj. But it makes sense seeing some of the movies and some of the news.
    Seems the history of any decade of this century should be re-written fairly, and mainly exposed.
    Its true that one likes to know more about the poll, maybe Manas will take care of that.
    For those interested, Monte has also a post about this poll and a similar discussion is going on over there.

  13. brando said, on February 27, 2007 at 5:25 am

    I like the points being stated in this thread. It’s a bear of a topic.

    99, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “intensity of altruism”, in regards to terrorism. I’ve seen some acts that could easily be called altruistic like people being bone marrow donors for strangers, and I can’t imagine how this could be considered altruistic.

    We might be talking about different things. We probably are.

  14. brando said, on February 27, 2007 at 5:26 am

    Broken link. It’s really here.

  15. Monte said, on February 27, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Indeed, Naj, “a deep look at itself” is sorely needed. Somehow, America’s history gets presented here through rose-colored glasses. Only a tiny percentage of Americans know the Nicaragua, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti stories.

    And you mention Japan – almost no one here questions the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We were taught that those bombings were necessary to save the lives of American soldiers that would have been lost as a result of an otherwise “necessary” invasion. But – wait a minute – brutally slay hundreds of thousands of civilians in order to save the lives of soldiers? I thought we agreed that bombing of civilians was terrorism! Wasn’t terror the purpose? Why isn’t it commonly accepted, then, that Hiroshima and Nagasaki (let alone the fire-bombing of wooden Japanese cities in the weeks prior) were acts of terrorism? Ah, it makes my heart tremble to think of Japanese mamas and babies and grandpas and grandmas …

    Yet it is almost treasonous to say it. This is hard for me to understand. It is almost as if the truth is so grim that many will do anything to keep it looking heroic, rather than rjsk release of the floods of guilt that have been so long pent up.

    Yes, my friend, you’re right – it’s going to take quite a bit of self-examination. Keep saying it! We have a lot of repenting to do! Thanks for listening – I often don’t dare say these things, for fear of the wrath they can unleash.

  16. homeyra said, on February 27, 2007 at 9:50 am

    I just saw this link.

    And those 2 links within.
    There is so much information out there for anyone who wishes to see.

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