Wednesday , 17 April 2024

Pew Research: Support for bin Laden Had Declined but Remains Constant for al Qaeda

In the months leading up to Osama bin Laden’s death a survey of Muslim publics around the world found little support for the al Qaeda leader. [That being said, over 20% of Muslims in several of the countries surveyed still had favorable views of al Qaeda itself. Let’s take a closer look at what the survet results conveyed.] Words: 502

So says the Pew Research Center’s most recent Global Attitudes Project ( survey* which Lorimer Wilson, editor of, has reformatted and edited […] below for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. (Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.) The survey goes on to say:

Confidence in Osama bin Laden Had Fallen Drastically – Everywhere

Among the six predominantly Muslim nations surveyed (March 21st to April 12th, 2011) just prior to Osama bin Laden’s recent death he received his highest level of support (see below) among Muslims in the Palestinian territories (34%).

Minorities of Muslims in Indonesia (26%), Egypt (22%) and Jordan (13%) expressed confidence in bin Laden, while he had almost no support among Turkish (3%) or Lebanese Muslims (1%).

Support for Osama bin Laden Had Fallen Dramatically – Everywhere

As the above table shows that, over time, support for bin Laden had dropped sharply among Muslim publics. Since 2003, the percentage of Muslims voicing confidence in him had declined across the board: 

  • Jordan: bin Laden support declined by 43% from 56% of Muslims in 2003 to just 13% in the most recent poll. Jordanian support for bin Laden fell dramatically (to 24% from 61% the year before) in 2006, following suicide attacks in Amman by al Qaeda.
  • Palestinian territories: Support was down 38% from the 2003 high of 72% albeit still at a relatively high 34% compared to other regions.
  • Indonesia: Down 33%
  • Pakistan: Confidence in bin Laden fell from 52% in 2005 to just 18% in last year’s survey (2011 data is still not available).
  • Lebanon: Support dropped off by 18% from a high of 195 in 2003 to a negligible 1% in the recent survey. 

 Favorability of al Qaeda Remains Constant Across the Muslim World

Nigerian Muslims offered the highest positive views of al Qaeda (49% in 2010) followed by the Palestinian territories (28% positive/68% negative), Indonesia (22%), Egypt (21%), Jordan (15% which was down from 34% the previous year) with Turkey showing a slight increase from a relatively marginal 4% in 2010 to 5%  in 2011.

As the survey results above show, however, in spite of the Muslim public expressing  largely negative views of  al Qaeda in the 2011 survey their views were very similar to their ratings in 2010 (except for that of Jordan).

[It will be interesting to see how the recent death of bin Laden will affect the popularity of al Qaeda in the next 12 months. Stay tuned for next years survey!]


Editor’s Note:

  • The above article consists of reformatted edited excerpts from the original for the sake of brevity, clarity and to ensure a fast and easy read. The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered.
  • Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given as per paragraph 2 above.
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