Nearly half of French Muslims label Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack ‘opposition to colonialism’

Demonstrators march during a pro-Palestinian rally, in Paris, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Israel is pounding targets in the southern Gaza Strip, intensifying a renewed offensive after a weeklong truce with Hamas and giving rise to renewed concerns about civilian casualties. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Almost half of French Muslims believe that the Oct. 7 Hamas surprise attack that killed 1,200 Israelis was “an act of resistance against oppression,” while almost one in five expressed sympathy for the atrocities, according to a new poll by leading French pollster Ifop.

The survey compared French Muslims’ views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the general French population, revealing significant differences in their perception of Hamas.

Asked whether they currently sympathize with Hamas, 19 percent of respondents said yes, compared with only 3% of the general population.

The majority of Muslim respondents, 56 percent, said they neither support nor oppose Hamas, with a further 25 percent saying they do not. Among the general population, 54 percent of people expressed their dislike for Hamas, while a further 43 percent took a neutral position on the issue.

When asked to describe Hamas’ actions on Oct. 7, 45 percent of Muslim respondents described them as “opposition to colonialism.” A further 26 percent described the Oct. 7 atrocities as a “war crime” and a further 29 percent described them as “acts of terrorism,” indicating a more or less even split among Muslims polled.

Ninety percent of the French population interpreted the atrocities of Oct. 7 as a “war crime” and an “act of terrorism.”

A further 62 percent of Muslim respondents said Israel’s military response in Gaza was “ethnic cleansing,” compared to 38 percent of the population.

When asked about the position of the French government, a clear majority of Muslims (58 percent) said that the government of President Emmanuel Macron was sympathetic to Israel, compared to 20 percent of the population. Similar discrepancies were also revealed when asked about media coverage, with 67 percent of Muslims saying that the French media is more sympathetic to Israel, compared to 38 percent of the general population.

A demographic breakdown of Hamas sympathizers among French Muslims showed that 25 percent of those under 50 supported the terrorist group, rising to 53 percent among those aged 50 and over. An average of 49 percent of Muslims aged 25 to 41 gave a similar response to the older demographic.

There are currently around 6 million Muslims living in France.

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