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Islamicism divides Egyptians

Egyptians are deeply skeptical about the United States and its role in their country, but they are also divided in their attitudes about Islamic fundamentalists, according a poll released Monday by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

world Updated: Apr 27, 2011 00:44 IST

Egyptians are deeply skeptical about the United States and its role in their country, but they are also divided in their attitudes about Islamic fundamentalists, according a poll released Monday by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Most Egyptians distrust the US and want to renegotiate their peace treaty with Israel, the poll found. But only 31% say they sympathise with fundamentalists, while 30% say they sympathise with those who disagree with fundamentalists. An additional 26% said they had mixed views.

The poll is the first comprehensive look at attitudes of Egyptians since protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to end his 30-year reign in February.

The numbers reveal a society that overwhelmingly agrees that Mubarak was bad for the country but is divided about what the future should look like. Although 75% were positive about the Muslim Brotherhood, which was officially banned under Mubarak and is now the strongest political organisation in the country, almost as many - 70% - felt positively about the youth-based April 6 movement that was mostly secular and was one of the key organisers of the protests.

A majority of the country wants Egypt's laws to strictly follow the Quran - 62% - and even among those who disagree with Islamic fundamentalists, the number only drops to 47%.

The April 6 youth organisers have struggled to determine how best to translate their successes into influence in the political future of the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, benefits from a preexisting political organisation in a country that has few of them.

(In association with The Washington Post. For additional content from The Washington Post, visit www.washingtonpost.com)