The shooting of a Pakistani schoolgirl by Taliban gunmen Oct. 9 because of her work in advocating for girls’ education has drawn worldwide attention and put a focus on reaction in the country to Taliban attempts to impose its ideology.

A Pew Global Attitudes poll conducted this spring found that 66% of Pakistanis had an unfavorable view of the Taliban and that 58% of the public was very or somewhat concerned about Islamic extremism. (Still, the percentage expressing concern about Islamic extremism represented a drop from 63% a year earlier and from 79% in 2009).

A survey conducted in Pakistan in 2009 showed that there is strong backing among Pakistanis for many strict Islamic practices, but public opinion departs significantly from the Taliban on the issues of girls’ education and extremist violence. Nearly nine-in-ten Pakistanis (87%) believe it is equally important for boys and girls to be educated. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.