Survey of Muslims Highlights Hatreds

Survey of Muslims Highlights Hatreds

Muslim attitudes toward the West are getting worse, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Titled “The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other,” it attempted to assess the extent of the cultural rift between Muslims and Westerners by interviewing Muslims in two types of countries—nations where Muslims are the minority (Britain, Germany, France and Spain); and nations where they are the majority (Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria). The results were ugly.

Daniel Pipes categorized Pew’s findings with three broad statements:

A proclivity to conspiracy theories: In not one Muslim population polled does a majority believe that Arabs carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on America. The proportions range from a mere 15% in Pakistan holding Arabs responsible, to 48% among French Muslims. Confirming recent negative trends in Turkey, the number of Turks who point the finger at Arabs has declined to 16% today from 46% in 2002. In other words, in every one of these 10 Muslim communities, a majority views September 11 as a hoax perpetrated by the American government, Israel, or some other agency.

Further evidence of this trend appeared in Muslims’ attitudes toward Jews (many viewing them conspiratorially and blaming them for bad relations between Muslims and the West) and the lack of Muslim prosperity (which many blame squarely on the West).

Support for terrorism: All the Muslim populations polled display a solid majority of support for Osama bin Laden. Asked whether they have confidence in him, Muslims replied positively, ranging between 8% (in Turkey) and 72% (in Nigeria). Likewise, suicide bombing is popular. Muslims who call it justified range from 13% (in Germany) to 69% (in Nigeria). These appalling numbers suggest that terrorism by Muslims has deep roots and will remain a danger for years to come.British and Nigerian Muslims are most alienated: Britain stands out as a paradoxical country. Non-Muslims there have strikingly more favorable views of Islam and Muslims than elsewhere in the West; for example, only 32% of the British sample view Muslims as violent, significantly less than their counterparts in France (41%), Germany (52%), or Spain (60%). In the Muhammad cartoon dispute, Britons showed more sympathy for the Muslim outlook than did other Europeans. More broadly, Britons blame Muslims less for the poor state of Western-Muslim relations.

Another point could be added. The Pew survey also questioned non-Muslims in six countries: the U.S., Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain and Russia. Germany has the worst overall impression of relations between Muslims and Westerners, with 70 percent saying they are “generally bad.” Because it is, for all intents and purposes, the driving force behind the European project, we can expect its attitudes to prevail in the mounting debate over European-Muslim issues. It is from Germany that the loudest voices are calling for a return to and a strengthening of traditional European culture and religion. It is from Germany that we can expect the most militant response to Muslim provocations in the future.