Widespread Negativity: Distrust Between Muslims and Westerners

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

Author: Richard Wike, Pew Global Attitudes Project and Brian J. Grim, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life


10/30/2007 - News headlines bombard us almost daily with examples of conflict between the Muslim world and the West, whether the war in Iraq, the search for al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program. In Europe, long running tensions over whether to admit Turkey to the European Union and how to integrate and assimilate the continent's growing Muslim minorities have been exacerbated in recent years by terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, rioting in France, and an international controversy over the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper portraying the prophet Muhammad.

In 2006, the Pew Global Attitudes Project set out to explore these tensions, examining how non-Muslims in the West and elsewhere view Muslims, as well as how Muslims think about people in western nations. The results reveal a disturbingly high level of negativity on both sides, with Muslims and non-Muslims associating a wide array of negative characteristics with one another. There is generally more antagonism in Muslim countries toward the West than vice versa, with Turkey, despite its longstanding ties with the West, now recording the most negative views of Westerners. European Muslim publics have the least negative views of Westerners, although there are significant variations among the four European Muslim publics surveyed. In particular, British Muslims have far more negative attitudes toward non-Muslims than do Muslims in France, Germany, or Spain.

Read full report Widespread Negativity: Muslims Distrust Westerners More than Vice Versa on Pew Research Center Web site.

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