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Poll: Relations poor between Muslims, West

/ Source: The Associated Press

Muslims view people from the West, especially the United States and Europe, as selfish, immoral and greedy. People from the U.S. and Europe view Muslims as arrogant, violent and intolerant.

The deep divide between Muslims and the West was clearly illustrated in the findings of a new 15-country poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

A solid majority in most of the 15 countries polled, both in Europe and in the Mideast, said that relations between Muslims and Westerners are generally bad. While 55 percent of people in the United States, felt that way, two-thirds or more of the people in Germany and France took a dim view of relations between Muslims and the West.

And each side blames the other.

“In the Western countries, the Muslims are to blame,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. “In the Muslim countries and among Muslim minorities in Europe, the Western people are to blame.”

Terror support dropping
One of the more surprising findings in the poll was that solid majorities in Indonesia (65 percent), Turkey (59 percent), Egypt (59 percent) and Jordan (53 percent) said they do not believe the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States were carried out by groups of Arabs.

But Muslims’ support for terrorism is dropping in some countries. In Indonesia, Pakistan and especially in Jordan, there have been declines in the number of people who say suicide bombings can be justified.

Among the other findings:

  • Anti-Jewish sentiment remains overwhelmingly high in Muslim countries.
  • Majorities in the Muslim countries polled say the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections will be helpful to a fair settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. That position is solidly rejected in the non-Muslim countries.
  • Overwhelming majorities in Muslim countries blame the controversy over cartoons depicting Muhammad on Western disrespect for the Muslim religion. Majorities in Western countries tend to blame Muslim intolerance.
  • Europe’s Muslim minorities see relations between Muslims and the West as bad, but the European Muslims are more likely to take a positive view of Europeans than Muslims generally.

“British Muslims were the most radicalized, and the French Muslims were the most temperate,” Kohut said.

The polling in 15 countries of samples ranging from about 900 to 2,000 adults was conducted in April and May and has a margin of error ranging from 2 to 6 percentage points. The polling included Muslim oversamples in the European countries. In China, India and Pakistan, the polling was based on urban samples.

The nations in which polling was conducted were China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the United States.