An overwhelming majority of Arabs oppose the so-called Daesh in Iraq and Syria, also known by its Arabic acronym of Daesh, a new poll has revealed. The Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies revealed the findings as part of the Arab index survey for 2015 in a press conference in Doha, Qatar on Monday.
The poll considered the opinion of 18,311 respondents between May and September 2015, from 12 Arab countries: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. With only 7 per cent having a positive view of the militants, 89 per cent said that they disapprove of Daesh.
The survey results indicate that support for radical extremist organisations in the Arab world, where it exists, is rooted in political grievances and conflicts, and not a religious ideology. According to the poll, the percentage of those who have favourable views of Daesh is the same among respondents who are “very religious” and those who are “not religious”; it is equally prevalent amongst opponents and supporters of the separation of religion from the state.
With regards to the factors that contributed to the rise of the extremist group, sectarian tensions in Iraq and Syria were cited by more than 20 per cent of respondents as a main factor, followed by the presence of extremists by 11 per cent; foreign interference in the affairs of Arab countries by 10 per cent; and radical interpretations of Islam by 10 per cent.
The results show that no consensus exists among the Arab people over the best measures by which to combat Daesh and other armed terrorist groups. This reflects both the complexity of the issue and the sophisticated attitudes of the Arab public.
The most important factors in combatting Daesh and ending the threat of terrorism, respondents believe, include supporting democratic transition in the region, with 28 per cent approving of this; resolving the Palestinian issue, 18 per cent; ending foreign intervention, 14 per cent; intensifying the military campaign against Daesh, 14 per cent; and solving the Syrian crisis in line with the aspirations of the Syrian people, 12 per cent.