(The Washington Post) – In a new study released Tuesday, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that “concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations.” This comes at a particularly fraught moment in the Middle East: the jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seized whole swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a new caliphate.
The study involved over 14,000 respondents in 14 countries and was conducted between April and May — before ISIS’s dramatic advance through Iraq this past month. But it underscores the growing fear and anger felt by many in Muslim-majority countries when facing a range of militant threats, from that of Boko Haram in Nigeria to ISIS to the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan.
Fear about terrorism has spiked in a host of countries, most conspicuously Lebanon, which has watched the spillover of Syria’s brutal civil war rekindle longstanding sectarian tensions at home. Syrian refugees now make up a quarter of Lebanon’s population.