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Friday, 14 August 2009
Pew Poll Pakistan: 78% favor death for those who leave Islam, 83% favor stoning adulterers

The main spin of this poll is to show how average Pakistanis do not support the Taliban and al Qaeda, but nevertheless, they do support Islamic punishments. The pollsters can't seem to figure that out - maybe it has something to do with the education of girls. They're not sure, so they throw that in there. The Pakistani public also overwhelmingly views India as their major threat and views China very favorably. (Thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

Support for Severe Laws


One of the ironies in the survey is the extent to which Pakistanis embrace some of the severe laws associated with the Taliban and al Qaeda, even as they reject Islamic extremism and these extremist groups. The new poll finds broad support for harsh punishments: 78% favor death for those who leave Islam; 80% favor whippings and cutting off hands for crimes like theft and robbery; and 83% favor stoning adulterers.

Pakistani public opinion departs significantly from the Taliban on the issues of girls' education and extremist violence. As many as 87% of Pakistanis believe it is equally important for boys and girls to be educated. The poll also finds that support for suicide bombing that targets civilians in defense of Islam remains very low. Only 5% of Pakistani Muslims believe these kinds of attacks can often or sometimes be justified; as recently as 2004 roughly four-in-ten (41%) held this view. Fully 87% now say such attacks can never be justified – the highest percentage among the Muslim publics included in the 2009 survey.

Concerns About India


Long-running concerns about India are also reflected in the poll. The dispute between Pakistan and India over Kashmir is cited as a major problem facing the country by no fewer than 88%. And growing worries about extremism notwithstanding, more Pakistanis judge India as a very serious threat to the nation (69%) than regard the Taliban (57%) or al Qaeda (41%) as very serious threats. Most Pakistanis see the U.S. as on the wrong side of this issue: by a margin of 54% to 4% the U.S. is seen as favoring India over Pakistan.

While fears about India persist, Pakistanis express overwhelmingly positive opinions about another Asian giant – 84% have a favorable view of China and 80% consider China a partner to their country.

Posted on 08/14/2009 5:56 AM by Rebecca Bynum
14 Aug 2009
Hugh Fitzgerald

Cherif Bassiouni, "Distinguished Professor"?etc. -- a well-known Islamic legal scholar -- has tortuously tried to explain, in an exchange with Robert Spencer now posted at Jihad Watch, that while all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence do indeed mandate death for apostates, he -- Cherif Bassiouni, "Distinguished Professor" etc. at DePaul, sent a letter on behalf of a convert to Christianity condemned to death in Afghanistan and therefore....well, therefore in Bassiouni's view, his letter somehow outweighs those four Sunni schools of jurisprudence, and 1350 years of Muslim practice, and entitles him to make the claim that Islam does not sanction death for apostates despite those four schools, and that 1350-year history.

See Jihad Watch here.


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