Here is a chart of the results of the polls. The first, by ICM Research, asked people in Germany, France, and the UK whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of ISIS. The second, by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, asked Gazans whether they support or oppose ISIS. Here are the results.
First, a caveat: while the polls of Gazans and Europeans are similar, they are not totally identical. They were conducted by different polling agencies using different methods, and the different question could skew responses, as “support” is stronger than “favor.” So keep that in mind when comparing the Gaza results to the others, although it is hard to ignore that ISIS could have a higher approval rating in France than in Gaza.
In any case, the big, scary, surprising, number here is France: 16 percent of those surveyed say they support ISIS. That’s an awful lot. And that number gets even larger as the demographics get younger, as shown in this by-age breakdown published by Russia Today (the poll was commissioned by Russian state media, almost certainly to tar and/or troll Western countries, but that doesn’t make the findings any less disturbing):
This is alarming, in part because a growing number of ‘Europeans’, often from predominantly Muslim immigrant communities, are not just expressing their support for ISIS in polls: they are traveling to Syria and Iraq to join up. The ISIS fighter who killed American journalist James Foley on video last week spoke with a strong London accent. European governments are rightly worried about the implications of this for their own national security.
But there’s more going on here. It’s no secret that far-right politics have been on the rise in Western Europe, which includes a growing willingness to embrace nationalism. It is ironic but by no means impossible that far-right Islamophobia would rise in Europe alongside a greater approval of the Islamist group ISIS. Extremism is often reactive and ideologically contradictory and would lead to a very unstable Europe in the future.
The growth of Muslim Immigration in Europe has also brought a rise in hate toward Jews in Europe. It’s more complicated than extremism festering within predominantly Muslim immigrant communities.