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God Wars
ISIS Gains Popularity in France

“Jihadi tourism”—in which Westerners go to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS—has become a serious problem for some European countries. A new poll shows just how disturbingly high level of support for ISIS might be in France. British polling company ICM released a new poll this week that surveyed 1,000 people each in Britain, Germany, and France on their attitudes toward ISIS. Here were the results from France, via Haaretz:

7% of French residents aged 18-24 support IS, compared to just 4% in the U.K. and 3% in Germany. Support slid to 22% in the 25-34 year-old category and 20% in the 35-44 year-old category. ICM reported that the biggest opposition to France was among those aged 45 to 54.

Overall, French support averaged 15%, compared to 7% in Britain and only 2% in Germany. Support in Britain for IS was highest at 11% among respondents between the ages of 35 and 44.

The poll was paid for by Russia Today, hardly a reputable source. But it chose a legitimate polling company to conduct the survey, so the numbers appear to be trustworthy, at least initially. If accurate, the finding of 15 percent support represents a major challenge for officials aiming to confront home grown European jihadism. Moreover, the poll highlights how important it is for all moderate Muslim leaders to visibly and loudly condemn ISIS. Western jihadis are a minority, but they will inevitably color people’s perception of Islam. Vehement denunciations of this trend by other Muslims can help undo the damage that polls like this do to Islam’s image. Given that many Jihadis aren’t actually that religious, pious, tolerant Muslims can put forward a better image of what faithful Islam looks like.

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  • Kieselguhr Kid

    Honestly, this weblog has gotten worse and worse. The numbers in the poll are so counterintuitive that I followed them back to RT to try to figure out the margin of error and methodology, and — they don’t give you any, at all. But you guys put it up here, I suppose as more fodder to ignorantly bash Muslims for not acting as you have decided is best for their community. Surely we can agree that when you report something astonishing, and it’s quantitative, then it’s sloppy and careless not to at least look at the numbers?

    • Corlyss

      I think you are mistaken about “Muslim” bashing here. Most object to violently extremist Muslims who, you must admit, have racked up far more kills of their co-religionists than any Western coalition or alliance.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Most of the world’s people know it’s not “best for the Greek community” for any of the Greeks to insist that the rest of us bow to Zeus (and the gang of Greek gods) or die. The followers of Islam need to understand that the same thing now increasingly applies to them. They have been hoodooed into a falsehood and there is nothing sensible to do but abandon it.

    • jeburke

      Nonsence. AI warns appropriately about the source. But even if RT’s pollster is way, way off and “only” five percent of the French support ISIS, that’s an appalling level of support.

  • Corlyss

    “and should prod moderate Muslims to emphatically condemn jihadism.”

    Are you kidding? Moderate Muslims are more scared of the ISIS lot than the rest of us are. They KNOW what those guys would do to them if the moderates leaned forward in the foxhole.

  • FriendlyGoat

    No non-Muslim should be concerned at all with “Islam’s image”, since the whole thing is a colossal fib from beginning to end—-period. As a recent poster here pointed out, you won’t be seeing many “moderates” doing much denouncing because they can’t—-while retaining Mohammad, the Quran and the Hadiths. The IS nuts are actually practicing Islam, and the choice for moderates (in free places) is to vote with their feet and bail out. There is no such thing as following Mohammad “a little bit” and IS is making that clear.

  • Andrew Allison

    The results correlate quite closely with the percentage of the population of each country’s residents who are Muslim, suggesting that most Muslims support ISIS. Time to call a spade a spade?

  • Fat_Man

    “Vehement denunciations of this trend by other Muslims can help undo the damage that polls like this do to Islam’s image.”

    I am listening, but the only thing I hear is crickets.

  • TheCynical1

    Hmm, what if moderate Muslim figures have been condemning extremism, but the media underreports this, so we don’t hear much about it:

    Nah, in Media we trust.

  • gabrielsyme

    A quick note: the first figure is 27%, not 7% – the quotation cut off the first numeral.

  • gabrielsyme

    It’s hard to understand how the poll in respect to France is accurate, unless nearly all Muslims support ISIS in France and the number of Muslims in France have been significantly underestimated.

    It is sad to say, but the presence of large Sunni populations in Western countries looks increasingly like a poison within the various nations. Let’s not forget that 2% of Germany implies something around a 50% approval rate among Muslims; and a 7% approval rate in the UK implies an even higher approval rate among Muslims. Let us hope that this poll is highly flawed – but ICM is highly respected, and clearly more work needs to be done to understand the threat within.

  • vrichards

    Russia Today definitely has more credibility than this website. What makes you think otherwise?

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