Muslims around the world increasingly reject suicide bombings and other violence against civilians in defense of Islam, according to a new international poll.
The survey of international attitudes in 47 countries by the Pew Research Center also reported that in many of the countries where support for suicide attacks has declined, there has also has been decreasing support for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The survey found that surging economic growth in many developing countries has encouraged people in these countries to express satisfaction with their personal lives, family income and national conditions, said Andrew Kohut, the center's director.
Most notably, the survey finds large and growing number of Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere rejecting Islamic extremism. Ten mainly Muslim countries were surveyed along with the Palestinian territories, as well as five African nations with large Muslim populations.
For example, the percentage of Jordanian Muslims who have confidence in bin Laden as a world leader fell 36 percentage points to 20 percent since 2003 while the proportion who say suicide bombing is sometimes or always justified dropped 20 percentage points to 23 percent.
Other countries where support for bin Laden declined are Lebanon, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Kuwait.
The report said support for such bombings and terror tactics has dropped since 2002 in seven of the eight countries where data were available. In Lebanon, the proportion of Muslims who say suicide attacks are often or sometimes justified fell to 34 percent from 79 percent while just 9 percent of Pakistanis believe suicide bombings can be justified often or sometimes, down from 33 percent in 2002 and a high of 41 percent in 2004.
But support for suicide bombings is widespread among Palestinians, the report said, with 41 percent saying such attacks are often justified while another 29 percent say they can sometimes be justified. It found that only 6 percent of Palestinians, the smallest in any Muslim public surveyed, say such attacks are never justified.
The polls, with a sampling error of 2 to 4 percentage points, depending on the sampling size, were taken in various countries from mid April to the end of May, and involved about 1,000 samples in most countries.