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NCJ Number: 200065 Find in a Library
Title: Islam and Attitudes Toward U.S. Policy in the Middle East: Evidence From Survey Research in Lebanon
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:26  Issue:2  Dated:March-April 2003  Pages:135-154
Author(s): Simon Haddad
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the impact of religious orientation on attitudes toward United States' Middle Eastern policy among Muslim Lebanese.
Abstract: The data for this study were obtained from a stratified random sample that consisted of 262 Sunni and Shi'i respondents of both genders. Interviews were conducted in the Greater Beirut area during February and March of 2002. The study focused on the strength of personal and radical Islamic orientation among the respondents, the extent of support for U.S. Middle Eastern policy, and the determinants of that support. Of the respondents, 42 percent were Sunni Muslims and the remaining 58 percent were Shi'is. Of the respondents, 31 percent were female. Fifty-seven percent were in the 18 to 28 age group, 25 percent were in the 29 to 30 age group, and 19 percent were over 39 years old. The analysis focused on determining the role of personal and political religiosity in accounting for variance in attitudes toward U.S. policy on the Middle East. Results indicate that Lebanese respondents expressed an overall low level of support for U.S. policy in the region and to all its underlying dimensions. Support for political Islam consistently exhibited an inverse relationship to approval of U.S. foreign policy; i.e., respondents were much less likely to support U.S. policy if they favored a prominent role for religion in political and public affairs, or if they were less critical of Islamic militant violence. Individuals who reported high levels of religious devotion in their lives did not differ in their attitudes toward U.S. policy in the Middle East from persons with lower levels of religious devotion. This study concludes that attachment to Islam, defined in terms of piety, observance, and inclination to seek guidance from religious sources, had no relationship to attitudes about the major components of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Although support for Islamic militancy and political aims were associated with opposition to U.S. policy, the basis for such support was more often political than religious or ideological. Sunni respondents' endorsement of political Islam generated stronger opposition to U.S. policy than Shi'is. Membership in militant Islamic groups (especially among Sunnis) produced overwhelming opposition rates for U.S. policy. 7 tables, 7 notes, and 62 references
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Foreign policies; Islamic law; Lebanon; Middle East; Terrorism causes; United States of America
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