The poll, which asks in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has over 38,000 responses so far, with only 19 percent opposing the Sunni terrorist group.
Sunnis make up the majority of al-Jazeera’s Arabic-speaking audience. According to research estimates, its largest viewerships are in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with a significant number tuning in via satellite in the US. The Arabic-language website is popular in Saudi Arabia, the United States, Egypt, Morocco, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Alexa webpage analytics site. Al-Jazeera itself claims over 40 million viewers.
The network is no stranger to controversy for the causes it supports. With headquarters in Doha, it is run by Qatar’s ruling family, and has faced accusations of supporting the Sunni terrorists’ narrative. Qatar itself has a history of supporting terror, including Hamas in Gaza.
After 9/11, al-Jazeera’s headquarters proudly displayed images of Osama bin Laden portrayed in silhouette as a prophet-figure, according to The New York Times. Another al-Jazeera survey, taken in September 2006, showed 50 percent of respondents then supported bin Laden.
Al-Jazeera stands accused of strong bias in favor of Sunni Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated a terrorist organization in many countries. In 2013, dozens of Egyptian bureau staffers resigned in protest of said bias.
Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show al-Jazeera’s Islamabad bureau chief was identified as an al-Qaeda terrorist and member of the Muslim Brotherhood by the National Security Agency.
Earlier this month, a former employee of the English-language al-Jazeera America filed a lawsuit against the network for what he alleged was wrongful termination stemming from his complaints of anti-Semitic, anti-American, and sexist behavior on the part of network executive Osman Mahmud.