Global Poll: How Muslims and Westerners See Each Other

Source Organization: Pew Research Center


06/22/2006 - There is a considerable divide between people in the West and those in predominantly Muslim countries. Many in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent, and as lacking tolerance. Meanwhile, Muslims in the Middle East and Asia generally see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy - as well as violent and fanatical.

The latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted among roughly 14,000 people in 13 nations, finds that publics of predominantly Muslim nations have an aggrieved view of the West - they are much more likely than Americans or Western Europeans to blame Western policies for their own lack of prosperity. Generally, Muslim publics feel much more embittered toward people in the West than vice versa.

Large percentages in nearly every Muslim country attribute several negative traits to Westerners. In one of the survey's most striking findings, majorities in Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan say that they do not believe groups of Arabs carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Anti-Jewish sentiment remains overwhelming in predominantly Muslim countries.

For their part, Westerners are broadly skeptical of Muslim values. Many Westerners - including solid majorities of the general publics in Germany and Spain - say that there is a conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society. And Westerners are less optimistic about the prospects for democracy in the Muslim world than are Muslims themselves.

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