Pew Global Attitudes find that Muslim support for suicide bombing is dropping dramatically across the Islamic world, excepting Palestine.

Only a minority support this form of terrorism. In Egypt, the number has dropped to 8%. In Pakistan, it dropped from 33% to 9%. In Lebanon, it dropped from 74% to 34%. There is still a long way to go, but many Muslims realize that the tactic is self-destructive.

This is notable. Many Muslims, in the past, supported suicide bombings so long as they were directed against Jews. Or Christians, or Indians. Terrorism took place out of sight. Now, nearly all suicide bombings in the world are directed at other Muslims. The people in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, and many other locations are finally seeing the effects of suicide bombings.

Perhaps some are realizing that it is an ineffective and wasteful tactic.

Among the most striking trends in predominantly Muslim nations is the continuing decline in the number saying that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians are justifiable in the defense of Islam. In Lebanon, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia, the proportion of Muslims who view suicide bombing and other attacks against civilians as being often or sometimes justified has declined by half or more over the past five years.

Wide majorities say such attacks are, at most, rarely acceptable. However, this is decidedly not the case in the Palestinian territories. Fully 70% of Palestinians believe that suicide bombings against civilians can be often or sometimes justified, a position starkly at odds with Muslims in other Middle Eastern, Asian, and African nations.

The decreasing acceptance of extremism among Muslims also is reflected in declining support for Osama bin Laden. Since 2003, Muslim confidence in bin Laden to do the right thing in world affairs has fallen; in Jordan, just 20% express a lot or some confidence in bin Laden, down from 56% four years ago. Yet confidence in bin Laden in the Palestinian territories, while lower than it was in 2003, remains relatively high (57%).

Many in Afghanistan oppose suicide bombings for cultural reasons.

The cultural angle has to do with the warrior tradition in Afghanistan. This does not rule out suicidal attacks, but it does regard attacks on women and children as cowardly and shameful. A real man doesn’t do that… Most Afghans insist on only going after military targets, which are much better prepared to deal with such attacks.

Another interesting point is that the best suicide bombers are Middle Class and college educated. They are in short supply in many of warzones.

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