Clarion Article on ISIS Referenced in Senate Testimony
Wed, February 10, 2016
The Clarion Project's article about a little-known poll suggesting 13 percent of Syrian refugees have positive feelings towards the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) was referenced in expert testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The poll was referenced in many media outlets after our publication of the article.
The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies conducted a poll that surveyed 900 Syrian refugees equally split between Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Four percent of those questioned expressed a positive opinion of ISIS and another 9% expressed a "somewhat positive" opinion of the group. The total of 13% is charitable because it does not include the additional 10% that only view ISIS negatively "to some extent."
Although it was published in November 2014, it is hard to believe the percentage reflects ignorance about ISIS that has since been connected. The hideousness of ISIS was known by anyone who paid any attention at all by that time, especially Syrian refugees whose lives were uprooted by the civil war.
The survey indicated only 12% of Syrian refugees do not follow news related to ISIS at all. Another 10% said they rarely do, but all it takes is a quick glance at the headlines to get the picture. There is no other poll of its kind so this is the most reliable data currently available.
The article was footnoted in the February 3 testimony of David Harris, director of the International Intelligence Program of INSIGNISS Strategic Research Inc., to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He was explaining Canada's policy of fast-tracking the resettlement of Syrian refugees and the implications for Canadian and American security.
Harris pointed out the poll does not show how Syrian refugees have positive opinions of al-Qaeda, its Jabhat al-Nusra wing in Syria, Hezbollah, militias connected to the Assad regime and other terrorist threats. It is very likely support for them is even higher than it is for ISIS.
Canada has fast-tracked the resettlement of 15,000 Syrian refugees into its territory and another 10,000 will soon arrive. There is talk of increasing the total number of resettled refugees to 50,000 by the end of the year.
The Clarion Project was also referenced on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The mentions included our research into Mohamed Elibiary, a former senior Department of Homeland Security advisor who supports the Muslim Brotherhood and has links to its U.S. affiliates; the extremism of the Islamic Society of Boston and our identification of a terror-linked Islamist enclave in Texas.