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Arab Skepticism Shifts on Sept. 11 Attacks

There is a body of opinion, especially among Muslims -- despite the 9/11 Commision's findings and the spread of videos puporting to show Osama bin Laden taking credit for the terrorist attacks -- that bin Laden, al-Qaida and more than 20 young Arab men did not conspire to fly airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The majority of people in Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan say they do not believe Arabs carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A majority of British Muslims and 46 percent of French Muslims also share this view. And in Pakistan, the number is 41 percent.

The statistics come from the June 22, 2006, Pew Global Attitudes Project on "The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other."

Despite the poll numbers, attitudes are shifting in Jordan, and people are more likely to blame al-Qaida for the attacks, says Ayman Safadi, the editor of the Al Ghad newspaper in Amman, Jordan.

But, Safadi says, a strong culture of conspiracy theories -- coupled with a defensive attitude among Arabs -- could explain the recent poll numbers.

Robert Siegel talks with Safadi and with Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

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