Next door, yet worlds apart, we look at each other
June 28, 2006 11:10 PM   Subscribe

While the nonpartisan Pew Research Center normally focuses on US domestic issues, such as the recently and narrowly failed flag-burning amendment, the Pew Global Attitudes Project takes a wider view with reports such as The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other and 16-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey, with results that are parts obvious, non-obvious, foreboding, hopeful and contradictory in how the two societies seemingly feel about themselves and each other. [mi]
posted by Mr. Six (8 comments total)
• On the whole, the relationship between Muslims and Westerners (throughout US, Europe, Africa, Middle East and SE Asia) appears to be improving slightly

• The extent that suicide bombing of civilians is considered a justified defense of Islam is decreasing from previous surveys, but still remains high. Nearly half of Nigeria's Muslim population feel that suicide bombings can be justified. "Among Europe's Muslim minorities, roughly one-in-seven in France, Spain, and Great Britain feel that suicide bombings against civilian targets can at least sometimes be justified to defend Islam against its enemies."

• Polling in Spain suggests a four-fold difference between the percentage of Westerners who believe European Muslims are extremist, and those Muslims who themselves believe other European Muslims are violent extremists

• "While publics in largely Muslim countries generally view Westerners as violent and immoral, this view is not nearly as prevalent among Muslims in France, Spain and Germany. British Muslims however, are the most critical of the four minority publics studied — and they come closer to views of Muslims around the world in their opinions of Westerners."

• January elections in Iraq did not appear to improve the image of Westerners in the eyes of surveyed Muslims

• Four of five Indonesians worry that America could become a military threat to their country, yet three of five also believe that the US pays "a great deal or a fair amount of [positive] attention" to the Indonesia's interests

• Interestingly, perception of American people remained largely negative in Muslim nations such as Indonesia, while perception of some aspects of US policy was improved, suggesting that tsunami aid, as one example, might have had a positive "hearts and minds" effect

• Muslim nations feel more optimistic about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East, but feel their own possibilities for democratic leadership are mixed, and dissatisfaction with their own country outweighed satisfaction by a 2-to-1 ratio

• Public support in Indonesia has doubled for US efforts against terrorism, but the Christian and Muslim populations in other countries with a Muslim majority maintain strong opposition
posted by Mr. Six at 11:11 PM on June 28, 2006

Only one comment? By the poster of the FPP? Does this suggest, demonstrate or prove that Americans really don't give a toss what others think of them?

Time for some selective analysis:

Canadians, Brits, Dutch and Germans pick Australia as the place to go to live the good life.

Americans, French, Spaniards, Russians, Poles, Turks, and Chinese pick Canada, Britain or Germany.

Pakis choose China, Lebanese pick France, Indians pick the US.

Now, if people choose countries whose own population pick another country, the logical conclusion - if you follow the links - is that everybody wants to live in Australia, whether they know it yet or not.

Except the Indonesians & Jordanians, who we don't give a toss about.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:54 AM on June 29, 2006

A few points -

I thought it was interesting that the Muslims surveyed had a more positive perception of Muslim-western relations then the non-Muslims did.

I'm encouraged that most people still think democracy is possible in the middle east, dispite our dismal failure in Iraq.

The number of Muslims who believe that the 9-11 attacks weren't carried out by Arabs is astounding. Who, exactly, do they think did it?
posted by Afroblanco at 7:07 AM on June 29, 2006

This is the survey that the right is bashing Murtha with?

It's awful that we're even rated below China by most countries in favorability ratings.
posted by amberglow at 7:26 AM on June 29, 2006

And it was interesting that Canada saw us as most violent--their news is always filled with phrases like "US-style violence" and stuff every single time there's a shooting or gang thing there.
posted by amberglow at 7:28 AM on June 29, 2006

Umm, relations are improving? Do you know how many people I know who've stopped eating curry? No one is forgetting about that little cartoon issue any time soon. Not that american christians are any better.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:15 AM on June 29, 2006

"Also, fewer than half in all six Muslim publics surveyed say they associate Westerners with respect toward women."

This comment struck me as most telling. Even women's rights, something that Westerners proudly point to to illustrate our superiority is not seen that way at all in Muslim countries. We can claim to be exporting democracy and spreading freedom, but simply put, they don't want what we're selling.
posted by jimmy76 at 10:47 AM on June 29, 2006

Do you know how many people I know who've stopped eating curry?

What the fuck does curry have to do with anything?

The number of Muslims who believe that the 9-11 attacks weren't carried out by Arabs is astounding. Who, exactly, do they think did it?

The CIA, duh.

Heh - 95% of Jordanians surveyed think Americans are not religious enough; 0% think they are too religious.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:27 PM on June 29, 2006

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