13 Percent of Syrian Refugees Support ISIS
The data from the poll should raise questions about the risks posed by the acceptance of Syrian refugees into the United States
A poll published in November 2014 by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies found that 13% of Syrian refugees have positive feelings towards the Islamic State terrorist group. The data should raise questions about the risks posed by the acceptance of Syrian refugees into the United States.
The poll surveyed 900 Syrian refugees equally split between Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The think-tank found that 4% expressed a positive opinion of the Islamic State (ISIS) and another 9% expressed a “somewhat positive” opinion of the terrorist group. Another 10% only view the group negatively “to some extent.”
The responses to that question are similar to an inquiry to the Syrian refugees about whether they view ISIS to be a direct threat to their home country. About 80% responded affirmatively and 15% negatively, with 5% said they don’t know or refused to answer.
Another question shows that these sentiments do not come from ignorance. The majority are aware of the Islamic State’s extremist ideology and barbarism. About 40% said they follow news related to the Islamic State very closely and 37% follow it somewhat closely. About 10% said they rarely follow ISIS-related news and 12% follow it not at all.
The survey didn’t even ask about more popular groups like Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch named Jabhat al-Nusra and Hamas or extremist beliefs like jihad against the U.S. When asked about the greatest threat to the Arab world, 29% of Syrian refugees said Iran, followed by Israel (22%) and the U.S. (19%). The threat of Islamist militancy was rated the top threat by only 10%.