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  • Egyptians Protesters react in Tahrir Square in Cairo July 3, 2013.

    Egyptians Protesters react in Tahrir Square in Cairo July 3, 2013. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 April 2016

A recent survey found only 13 percent of young Arabs would join the Islamic State group while the majority wants stability over democracy.

Only 13 percent of young Arabs say they would support the Islamic State group even if did not use so much violence, according to the 2016 Arab Youth Survey, while at least 80 percent said they were concerned about the rise of the extremist group.


Islamic State - Truths and Lies

The Arab Youth Survey was based on 3,500 interviews across a range of issues with respondents aged 18 to 24. It is the eighth edition of the survey and provides an idea about how many young people in the region feel about a range of issues including the Arab Spring, the conflicts in the Middle East and democracy.

Young people in the Arab world seem be increasingly worried about the terror group. Support for the group fell from 19 percent in 2015 to 13 percent this year. However, the survey also shows that young Arabs are growing disillusioned with uprisings and democracy as they tend to favor stability instead.

Also, 24 percent of those surveyed, who are from 16 Arab countries, said a lack of jobs and opportunities was the main recruiting tool for the Islamic State group. Meanwhile, 25 percent said: “I don't understand why anyone would join” the Islamic State group.


From Tunisia to Syria: Unfortunate Failure of the Arab Spring

The majority of those surveyed, or 53 percent, agreed that maintaining stability was more important than promoting democracy. In 2011, the same survey found that 92 percent of Arab youth said “living in a democracy” was their most important wish.

In fact, the undemocratic United Arab Emirates, a federation run by monarchs, was viewed as a “model country” by the majority of those surveyed. Most of those interviewed said they want other countries to be like the UAE, a favorable opinion which comes as the result of the Persian Gulf country being perceived as “secure and stable” with “job opportunities”.

The UAE is a major U.S. ally in the region and has faced many allegations of human rights abuses over the years. The government has also been involved in the controversial Saudi-led operation in Yemen, which the U.N. has accused of “international crimes.” The UAE also supported the coup in Egypt against the first-democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

On the Arab Spring, just 36 percent said they felt the Arab world was in a better shape following the uprisings, down from 72 percent in 2012.

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