Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations

Feb 04, 2010

Across predominantly Muslim nations, there is little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, although there are pockets of support for both groups, especially in the Middle East.

Four years after its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas receives relatively positive ratings in Jordan (56% favorable) and Egypt (52%). However, Palestinians are more likely to give the group a negative (52%) than a positive (44%) rating. And reservations about Hamas are particularly common in the portion of the Palestinian territories it controls – just 37% in Gaza express a favorable opinion, compared with 47% in the West Bank.

A survey conducted May 18 to June 16, 2009 by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project also finds limited support for the Lebanese Shia organization Hezbollah. While most Palestinians (61%) and about half of Jordanians (51%) have a favorable view of Hezbollah, elsewhere opinions are less positive, including Egypt (43%) and Lebanon (35%). As with many issues in Lebanon, views of Hezbollah are sharply divided along religious lines: nearly all of the country's Shia Muslims (97%) express a positive opinion of the organization, while only 18% of Christians and 2% of Sunni Muslims feel this way.

Meanwhile, Turks overwhelmingly reject both groups – just 5% give Hamas a positive rating and only 3% say this about Hezbollah. There is also little support among Israel's Arab population for either Hamas (21% favorable) or Hezbollah (27%). Outside of the Middle East, many in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Nigeria are unable to offer an opinion about these groups.

Read the full report Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations on the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project Web site.

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