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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

One quarter of Palestinians and Pakistanis consider 9/11 attacks acceptable

Posted by Thomas Nephew on October 22nd, 2001

In National Review Online, Daniel Pipes writes Bin Laden is a Fundamentalist. That’s not exactly a news flash to most of us. But it is to Bush pal David Forte, who wants to think of Bin Laden as some kind of rare, mutant variety of Muslim, probably because (as Franklin Foer argues in The New Republic) he and Bush want religion and government intertwined in America’s future. Forte wrote a recent rebuttal to Andrew Sullivan’s recent New York Times Magazine piece This is a Religious War, titled Religion is Not the Enemy. But so far I’m more persuaded by Sullivan than by Forte, and I think Pipes also makes a sensible factual reply:

Fully one quarter of the populations in Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority (survey research finds, in separate polls both overseen by U.S. organizations) consider the September 11 attacks acceptable according to the laws of Islam. To me, this suggests that a very substantial body of Muslim opinion is already in bin Laden’s camp; more, that virtually the whole range of fundamentalist Islamic opinion agrees with his goals and his methods. […]

[David Forte] can cheerfully advise Washington to work with the huge majority of Muslims to isolate a tiny fringe of violent ideologues. I grimly tell the policymakers that the problem is not just the miniscule element he points to but the much larger one of fundamentalists, which I estimate at 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim population.

Trying to track down those survey results: in another article Pipes says that the Palestinian poll was done by Bir Zeit (University; no word on their American co-workers), while the Pakistan one was done by Gallup. Best I can do for now; neither organization’s web site trumpets these numbers, so that the figures are probably released to subscribers and not to the public. Incidentally, Pipes piles on a bit in the 2d article cited by mentioning an on-line Indonesian survey “showing” high Bin Laden support. Such surveys are not random samples, but just counts of how many people are motivated to click a mouse about something.

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