Thursday, July 14, 2005

Support for Democracy up

and support for Osama bin Laden down.

Osama bin Laden's standing has dropped significantly in some pivotal Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically," according to a new survey released yesterday.

Predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries share to a "considerable degree" Western concerns about Islamic extremism, according to the poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization.


The one exception is attitudes toward suicide bombings of U.S and Western targets in Iraq, a subject on which Muslims were divided. Roughly half of Muslims in Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco said such attacks are justifiable, while sizable majorities in Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia disagreed. Yet, support for suicide bombings in Iraq still declined by as much as 20 percent compared with a poll taken last year.

The poll also shows a widespread increase in support for democracy.

Captain's Quarters

Democratization brings hope and a measure of control over one's life, two qualities that have long been absent from the tyrannies and kleptocracies of the Middle East. Until Iraq and Afghanistan showed it could work for Arabs as well as Europeans, the subjects of these autocracies had neither nor any glimmer of possibility of achieving them. Now that they see their cousins able to govern themselves through free elections and hold their leaders accountable for their actions, they understand the futility of suicide attacks and terrorism. Just like anyone else, they will choose freedom and hope over oppression and death.