A recent study polling predominantly Muslim countries has found that a majority of people support al-Qaida's political goals but not the use of terrorism.
The study, conducted in eight majority-Muslim countries, suggests that a significant number of people support al-Qaida's political goal of pushing U.S. military forces out of the Middle East and predominantly Muslim countries in other regions.
The University of Maryland's WorldPublicOpinion.org and National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism conducted the survey and found that while a majority of people support al-Qaida's political goals, majorities also strongly oppose terrorist attacks on civilians. Seven in 10 said they disapprove of attacks on American civilians, WorldPublicOpinion.org reported.
Despite the opposition to attacks on civilians, large majorities do approve of attacks on U.S. troops based in Muslim countries in the Middle East and Afghanistan, including as many as 83 percent of those polled in Egypt and 72 percent in Jordan, countries that are both U.S. allies.
"The United States faces a conundrum," Steven Kull, WorldPublicOpinion.org director, said in a statement.
"U.S. efforts to fight terrorism with an expanded military presence in Muslim countries appear to have elicited a backlash and to have bred some sympathy for al-Qaida, even as most reject its terrorist methods."