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Most Spaniards fear Islamic terrorism

Published on 18/03/2004

18 March 2004

MADRID – Seventy percent of Spaniards feel threatened by Islamic terrorism in the wake of the Madrid bombings, according to a study published Thursday.

A feeling of insecurity has risen amongst the population in the past year, according to the study by the Royal Institute of International Relations and Strategies.

“The feeling of insecurity compared with happiness was rising with time. Also international terrorism was very worrying for 45 percent of Spaniards in 2002, while now it is of concern to 70 percent,” the study concluded.

More than two thirds of those questioned feel threatened by Islamic terrorism (67 percent).

Others feel threatened by the proliferation of arms of mass destruction (51 percent) and Islamic fundamentalism (40 percent)

The study also found that before the terrorist attack and the general election campaign, many had a poor image of US president George W Bush.

In a scale of one to ten, he was given a ranking of just 2.2.

Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, director of the Institute, said he had received the same findings when he asked in a similar study for Spaniards opinion of the country’s support for the Iraq invasion.

Asked if Spanish troops sent to Iraq should be brought back, 40 percent said they should return and 39 percent said that Iraq should be under the control of the United Nations.

Javier Noya, director of analysis, said that the war in Iraq had harmed Spaniards’ opinion of the US with 60 percent of those questioned giving a negative or unfavourable answer in relation to America.

Noya said the image of Bush for many Spaniards is now as bad as is that of Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

Sharon received 2.3 on a scale of one to ten.

In comparison, the Pope was ranked at 6.7 out of ten – the most popular world figure.

Most have a pessimistic view of the future of Iraq; only 14 percent think the Iraqi people are better off without Saddam Hussein.

Eighty-eight percent of those questioned think the situation in Iraq is “bad” and nearly half (46 percent) think it is “very bad”.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news