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World Politics and Support for Terrorism within Muslim Populations: Evidence from Muslim Countries and Western Europe

Zhirkov K., Verkuyten M., Weesie J.
Focusing on the Muslim populations in five Muslim-majority countries and four Western European countries, we examine the levels of support for suicide bombings and other forms of violence. We found that support for terrorism among Muslims is present but the percentage of radicals is quite low. In both samples, support for terrorism is stronger among those who see democracy as a solely Western political system. This pattern of association is similar across the Western European countries, whereas the association varies considerably across the Muslim countries. The perceived economic dominance of the West is related to more support for terrorism among Muslims in Europe. In the Muslim countries, blaming the West for negative international relations is associated with greater support for terrorism. We suggest that improvement of the relationships between the West and the Muslim world can reduce support for terrorism and prevent radicalization within Muslim societies.