Survey: Most Young Muslims In Middle East Do Not Support ISIS

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A survey conducted near the end of 2015 found that a majority of young Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa believe ISIS and Al-Qaeda pervert the teachings of Islam. 

Respondents said they believed the rise of jihadist groups was caused by extreme religious teachings and lack of education, combined with corrupt and repressive governments, Haaretz reports.

The survey, conducted by Zogby Research Services in Egypt, polled over 5,000 young Muslim men and women in Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories in October and November 2015.

"At least three-quarters of all millennial respondents in all countries surveyed" regarded ISIS and other extremist groups as "either a complete perversion of Islam's teachings or mostly wrong," according to the survey. In Morocco and the UAE, more than 90 percent of respondents said that the groups were a "complete perversion of Islam."

In an accompanying statement, Zogby said, "In most countries, the majority says that religion does not need to be reformed" but instead discourse around religion "needs to be made more relevant."

In America, many Muslims are worried about Islam's association with ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other similar groups and fear that they will be the targets of Islamophobia.

When the San Bernardino, California, shooting happened in December 2015, Adam Hashem, a Muslim from Dearborn, a Detroit suburb with one of the country's largest Muslim populations, hoped the shooters would not turn out to be Muslim.

"I was at the gym yesterday while the shooting was taking place, and all the TVs were showing that footage, and all I could keep thinking to myself is, 'God, I hope they don't have any Eastern descent -- not just Middle Eastern; anything we'd associate with a Muslim'," Hashem told the Associated Press.

"The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence," Hussam Ayloush, an executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.

Sources: Haaretz, AP via Yahoo News / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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