09/10/2009 - Eight years after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds that support for Osama bin Laden has declined considerably among Muslim publics in recent years. Moreover, majorities or pluralities among eight of the nine Muslim publics surveyed this year say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians can never be justified to defend Islam; only in the Palestinian territories does a majority endorse such attacks.
The drop in support for bin Laden has been most dramatic in Indonesia, Pakistan and Jordan. Currently, about one-quarter of Muslims in Jordan (28%) and Indonesia (25%) express confidence in the al Qaeda leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs; in 2003, majorities in each country agreed (56% and 59%, respectively).
In Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding, 18% of Muslims now say they have confidence in him. Just last year, 34% of Pakistani Muslims expressed support for bin Laden and, in 2003, nearly half (46%) agreed. Pakistani Muslims' views of al Qaeda have also grown less favorable over the past year; 9% have a favorable view of the group, compared with 25% in 2008.
Read the full commentary Declining Support for bin Laden and Suicide Bombing on the Pew Research Center's Web site.