Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Palestinian Muslims are far more fundamentalist than the media would have you believe

A recent poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, together with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, asked the usual questions from Palestinians about which candidate they would vote for if elections were to be held today.

But they also asked questions that Westerners rarely see:

94.1% of Palestinians fasted all or nearly all the days of Ramadan and 86% prayed every day. (Keep in mind 2% of Palestinians are Christians.)

86% are against coeducational secondary schools.

82% say that the Palestinian Personal Status Law should be either fully or partially based on sharia (Muslim religious) law.

The only answers that seemed consistent with liberal viewpoints was that a large majority is against marriage for women under 18, and about 2/3 were against having multiple wives.

The poll didn't even ask the most incendiary questions. In 2013, a Pew poll asked questions in the Muslim world about attitudes towards alcohol, honor killings, sharia, stoning for adultery and other topics, and the results among Palestinians were shocking. Yet this truth about Palestinian fundamentalism and fanaticism is rarely discussed in the media or by think-tanks.

These results are important to understand. When Westerners say that they will propose peace plans, or fund human rights NGOs, or really get involved in any way in the Middle East conflicts, without knowing the mindset of the people involved, the initiatives are probably doomed.

Of course, this applies to Israel as well. Of course there are fundamentalist Jews as well. However, the percentage of Jews in Israel with fundamentalist and closed-minded opinions is far lower than that of Muslims in the territories.

While critics of Israel routinely throw around terms like "theocracy," they rarely apply the same standards to Palestinians.

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