Twenty-five Muslim countries showed only mediocre support for Israel's
archenemies Hamas and Hezbollah, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The Muslim organizations received more support in Israel's neighboring countries, while only 37% of respondents in the Gaza Strip said they supported Hamas.
According to the survey, which was conducted between May 18 and June 16 of 2009, only 37% of Gaza residents, who are under direct control of Hamas, said they were in favor of the group, while 47% of West Bank residents vowed their support for the Fatah
Across the border, support ratings for the Palestinian political faction varied greatly; 52% of Egyptian
respondents said they backed the group, 56% expressed their support in Jordan,
only 30% were in favor of Hamas in Lebanon
and a mere 5% in Turkey.
on the other hand received the support of 61% of Palestinians and 51% of Jordanians, while in Egypt only 43% backed the Shiite party – higher than what the Egyptian leadership was expecting following its recent public clash with Lebanese faction, after Egypt revealed a Hezbollah terror network in its territory.
An interesting finding revealed that within Lebanon only 35% supported Hezbollah – among them 98% were Shiite, while only 18% were Christians and 2% Sunni Muslims. The finding reaffirms the social cleavage between the Sunnis and the Shiites
in the country.
Ahmadinejad. Many enemies, many fans (Photo: Reuters)
The survey also analyzed support ratings for the regional leaders. Saudi King Abdullah ranked first with 92% support in Jordan, 83% in Egypt and 55% in Lebanon. However, despite his popularity in the Arab world, only 38% of Palestinians said they supported the Saudi Arabia Monarch.
Palestinians did however vocalize their support for Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah,
who received the nod of approval from 65% of residents in the Gaza Strip and 71% in the West Bank. Even in Jordan Nasrallah got a majority approval of 56%, while in Egypt the figure was slightly more modest at 34% -- which still represented a substantial pool of proponents.
At home, Nasrallah faced a harsher reality – with only 37% of respondents who said they backed the Shiite leader – among them 97% were Shiite and only 2% were Sunni.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
showed a decline in popularity compared with a similar survey conducted in 2007; only 33% of Egyptian respondents expressed support for the Palestinian leader, compared with 67% in 2007.
Among Palestinians, the decline was not as sharp, with 52% support rating compared with 56% in 2007.
Barack Obama. Wins US popularity contest (Photo: Reuters)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
might be the most hated and ridiculed figure in Israel and the West, but among Palestinians he retained his popularity, with 45% expressing their support.
Second on his list of fans was Indonesia – the largest Muslim country in the world, where 43% declared their fondness to the Persian leader. Other countries in the region were not as forgiving; only 32% of Lebanese and Jordanians said they supported the controversial president, while only 26% of Egyptians and 17% of Turkish said he had their back.
Leader of Al-Qaeda global
terror group Osama bin Laden also showed declining popularity, while his strongest supporters could be found in Nigeria (54%) and among of Palestinians (51%), which according to the survey, identify with his worldview.
In the rest of the Muslim countries, Osama bin Laden is not as loved; only 28% support rating in Jordan, 23% in Egypt, 18% in Pakistan, 4% in Turkey and a mere 2% in Lebanon.
Unlike the divided public opinion vis-à-vis Arab leaders, US President Barack Obama maintained high ranks across the board with an 81% support rating in Nigeria, 71% in Indonesia, 69% among Israeli-Arabs and 65% among Sunni Lebanese.
The survey conductors emphasized the Obama's support ratings were significantly higher than his predecessor, George W. Bush.