The Happy Arab News Service

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A king on a powder keg

The latest and much referenced on the web report on public opinion in the Mislim World claims that the extremist duo of Hamas and Hezbollah, otherwise known as H&H, enjoys mixed ratings in the Muslim World while the Muslim public overwhelmingly rejects the Al-Qaida (AQ). The poll is poorly structured and confused and accompanied by an even worse analysis. Those interested can read it here. The poll's analysis doesn't merit to be taken seriously and some of the data, never mind the conclusions, look outright fishy. However, I would still like to comment on the poll's Jordan findings.

The poll reveals staggering levels of support for the H&H and the AQ. Far from rejecting the AQ, whopping 34% profess a favorable view of the AQ. This finding is the most significant given the attacks the AQ staged on civilian targets in the kingdom and the fact that Jordan borders on Iraq and is hosting a significant community of Iraqi refugees. Such a massive rooting for the AQ certainly does not come from ignorance which can serve an explanation for elevated levels of support for the AQ in other Muslim countries such as Indonesia or Nigeria which are far from the Middle East. Only today Christian communities in Iraq were reported to have been canceling Christmas festivities in the face of threats and attacks from the Iraqi department of the AQ and amidst an escalating Christian flight out of the Arab controlled areas of Iraq.

Equally impressive are the ratings for the H&H, which are higher than in any other Muslim country in the poll. The poll does not provide cumulative data for all supporters of at least one of the extremist groups. Otherwise, I suspect that the poll's claim of mixed ratings for extremist groups would have been revealed in Jordan as the public opinion being mostly mixed of extreme and very extreme. While no data seems be available on how the support for radical Islamists is shared between the three, I think it's nothing far fetched to suggest that out of the 60% who hold a favorable view of the Hamas, there should be at least 5%-10% of very traditional Muslim Brothers who see their alliance with the heretics from the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah axis as an alliance of convenience only. And out of the 34% of AQ sympathizers, 5%-10% should be hardcore Salafis who want to have nothing to do with none of the two Hs. Altogether, you get staggering 75%-80% for enthusiasts of at least one of the three radical Islamic groups. To put it short, this king is literally sitting on a powder keg.

King Abdullah II of Jordan

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