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February 09, 2007



You write:

"Islamism: 45% said that "Muslim" was the most important aspect of their identity, compared to 29% who said "citizen of my country" and 20% who said "Arab." I don't have the earlier studies at hand, but that seems a lot higher "Muslim" than before - which would be another data point in favor of the argument that al-Qaeda is succeeding at the level of spreading its basic worldview..."

Isn't this a bit harsh on your part? Since when is primary identification as a Muslim a sign of Islamism, or indicative of success for al-Qaeda? I'm afraid that framing things like this, i.e. 'Muslimness, the sense of Ummah, is de facto Islamist', will be the next phase in the eradication of the Muslims.

FWIW, I'm suprised and disappointed with your comment here.


sorry, that was shorthand for another ongoing conversation about al-Qaeda's goals and how to assess their success. Maybe doesn't make sense without that context..


I wasn't able to open the study PDF for some reason, but would be curious to see the religious vs national identification breakdown by country. Primarily religious identification seems a little low here, actually. Moaddel had a study published in 2002 titled Worldviews of Islamic Publics that focused on Egypt, Jordan and Iran, and Egypt and Jordan had about 70-80% of respondents saying they identified as Muslims first. Are there particular previous studies that showed a lower primarily religious identification?


@ SP

I had problems opening the PDF-document as well. The link was corrupted

But the trick was to copy the link and open it in a new window (or tab)
Then replace the "%5C"-parts in the link with a forward slash.
It should work like that.


Dear AA,

Following BO18's (brilliant) advice, the link is: http://brookings.edu/views/speeches/telhami20070208.pdf

Again ... do you think that the fact that the survey was conducted a few months ago matters significantly?




Link fixed; thanks folks - Brookings should hire you. MSK - yes, I think it might matter, since it was in January that the anti-Shia (as opposed to anti-Iran) agitation really started getting going.


Dear AA,

should I send you my CV that you can pass it along to Brookings? (I'm job hunting ... so please do feel free.)

As for the survey, I found a few things interesting:

- Compare the difference in responses to "Please tell me which world leader (outside your own country) you admire most" and "Please tell me which world leader (outside your own country) you would prefer to rule over you and your family". Emiraties admire Nasrallah but rather have Chirac as ruler ...

- Russia is even less wanted as "sole superpower" than the US, and the UK gets only 50% of the US' support!

- Overall, the UK is faring pretty badly in the survey.

- France, despite the Charlie Hebdo cartoon issue, despite the Banlieue Riots, despite Chirac's clear anti-Nasrallah/anti-Syria stance is doing quite well.

- Political boycotts of consumer products just don't work.

- The nation-state idea is so deeply entrenched that the biggest concern about the Iraq War consequences is "Iraq may be divided"

- To answer SP's question: p.81 answers it. 2004: 24% Muslim / 41% Citizen, 2005: 32% vs. 45%, 2006: 45% vs. 29%

- Nobody wants to live in Russia. (D'uh!)

In many of the charts, the differences by country are quite significant & I would counsel to use the across-the-board numbers very carefully. (Ex.: the "Muslim or Citizen First?" question)

Even the respondents indicated that the Arab governments and people have now less in common than 5 years ago.




Speaking of Al-Jazeera, did you see Samantha Bee's feature on Al-Jazeera English on the Daily Show? Would've liked to see it frontpaged here! ;-)

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