Support for Militancy: Bangladesh and Pakistan

Dear readers,

I am in the process of writing a paper on the predictors of support for Islamist militancy (whatever that means) in Bangladesh. Without giving the paper’s findings away, here are some interesting data I’m seeing:

In line with the anecdote-based narrative of Bangladeshi support for militancy, Bangladeshis seem to be free-riding on the militancy train:

Although support for militancy is high – 65% of people agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that groups that are attacking America are defending Islam against America’s efforts to divide and dominate the Islamic world – only 10.9% of Bangladeshis would approve of a family member joining such a group. Support for militancy is high on several similar survey questions.

Given Bangladesh’s highly literate, politically cognizant population, here’s another semi-shocker:

A whopping 39% of the respondents said they didn’t know who was behind the 9/11 attacks; I would have imagined a greater majority of people to have an opinion about this. I wonder how this number would differ for Pakistan; would more than 19% of the people indicate the US government is behind 9/11, bringing down the nearly 40% don’t knows? Are Bangladeshis caught in an information limbo where no side can build a credible narrative?

Here’s a final interesting bit statistic: while over 65% of people approved of attacks on US military personnel in Iraq (the same question for Afghanistan has virtually identical distribution) attacks on US civilians working in Islamic countries finds only about 4% support. I wonder, again, if the military/civilian distinction carries comparable salience in Pakistan.