|Support for Terror Wanes
Among Muslim Publics
July 14, 2005
[Contrast Between Muslim & Non-muslim Publics]
Yet, the latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted this spring among more than 17,000 people in 17 countries, finds that Muslim and non-Muslim publics have very different attitudes with regard to the impact of Islam on their countries.
While publics in predominantly Muslim countries voice ... the balance of opinion is that Islam is playing a larger political role in their nations, and most welcome that development. ...
In non-Muslim countries, fears of Islamic extremism are
closely associated with worries that Muslims living there do not
want to adopt their nation’s customs and way of life. There is also
a widespread perception, including among Americans, that resident Muslims
have a strong and growing sense of Islamic identity—a development
that is viewed especially negatively in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
• Large and growing majorities in some predominantly Muslim countries ... continue to say that democracy can work well in their own countries. Yet, ... Muslims in these countries are far more likely to think of themselves first as a Muslim rather than as a citizen of their particular country.
• Further ambivalence with respect to the role of Islam in political life is seen in the tendency of Muslims who see Islam’s role increasing also to be more likely to say that Islamic extremism poses a threat to their home countries.
• Support for acts of terrorism in defense of Islam has declined significantly in all majority-Muslim countries surveyed. Only in Jordan does a majority (57%) still find such acts justified. But opinion is divided over suicide bomber attacks on Americans and other Westerners in Iraq: ... Confidence in Osama bin Laden has also fallen to low levels in most of these countries with the exception of Jordan and Pakistan.
• Among predominantly Muslim countries, nearly three-quarters of Moroccans, ... and roughly half of Pakistanis, Turks and Indonesians, see Islamic extremism as a threat in their own countries. ... [C]auses: ... U.S. policies and influence most frequently cited in Lebanon and Jordan, poverty and lack of jobs in Morocco and Pakistan, immorality in Indonesia and lack of education in Turkey.
• In the non-Muslim world, concerns about Islamic extremism ... is most intense in Russia, India, Spain and Germany. However, worry also runs high in France and the Netherlands. ... Britons and Americans expressed more concern about extremist attacks around the world than in their home countries.
• Europeans attitudes toward the admission of Turkey into the EU associated ... with concerns about Islamic extremism [and] immigration. Opposition is strongest in Germany[,] France [and] the Netherlands, while support for Turkey ... is strongest in Spain and Great Britain.
• ... [M]ajorities of the publics of most countries in Europe and North America hold favorable views of Muslims; only in the Netherlands and Germany do opinions tilt to the negative. However, people in predominantly Muslim countries hold mixed views of Christians and strongly negative views of Jews.
• Bans on the wearing of head scarves by Muslim women are heavily opposed in majority-Muslim countries (including Turkey), but are favored by ... majorities in France ... India ... Germany and the Netherlands.
• While majorities in five of the six Muslim countries surveyed still hold unfavorable views of the U.S., ... In [some] ..., young people are more likely to give favorable marks to the U.S. than are older people.