A poll conducted last month in Germany, the United Kingdom and France uncovered sobering news that suggests the Islamic State may be more popular in Western Europe than originally believed.
The survey, conducted by ICM Research on behalf of Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya, reported that 2 percent of Germans, along with 7% of British and 16% of French respondents, claimed to have “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” views of the rogue Islamic caliphate.
European governments may find the growing popularity alarming, as unprecedented number of their citizens have left the continent to join extremist groups in Iraq and Syria. This phenomenon was further evidenced last week after a video of a British-sounding Islamic State terrorist brutally executing American journalist James Foley was publicly released.
Security experts have voiced concern that homegrown jihadists may return home more radicalized and eager to carry out terrorist attacks on their own soil.
While support for the Islamic State may be stronger than originally thought, poll participants in France, Great Britain and Germany shared overwhelmingly negative opinions of the terrorist organization, with 62%, 64% and 82% of those surveyed reported “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” views, respectively.
In a separate survey conducted in Gaza by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, Gazans reported higher levels of antipathy for the jihadist group than their Western European counterparts, with 85% of Palestinians surveyed claiming to oppose the Islamic State.
The increase in the Islamic State’s popularity, coupled with rapidly rising nationalism among Europe’s right wing, may spell more troubling news for the estimated 1,000,000 Jews who have inhabited the region for over two millennia.