4 July-2014, Ishaan Tharoor/WSP: In a new study released Tuesday, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that “concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations.” This comes at a particularly fraught moment in the Middle East: the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seized whole swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a new caliphate.
The study involved over 14,000 respondents in 14 countries and was conducted between April and May — before ISIS’s dramatic advance through Iraq this past month. But it underscores the growing fear and anger felt by many in Muslim-majority countries when facing a range of militant threats, from that of Boko Haram in Nigeria to ISIS to the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan.
Fear about terrorism has spiked in a host of countries, most conspicuously Lebanon, which has watched the spillover of Syria’s brutal civil war rekindle longstanding sectarian tensions at home. Syrian refugees now make up a quarter of Lebanon’s population.
There’s little love for al-Qaeda and its Sunni extremist agenda, which runs parallel to ISIS.
Nor is there much support for Hezbollah, a militant Shiite organization based in Lebanon that has involved itself in the Syrian war and militant activities elsewhere.
Editor’s Note: The Author Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a Senior Editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.