While the mainstream media continues to propagate misconceptions about Islam, few parties take the initiative to look at the picture from the opposite side.
Since the September 11th attacks, Muslims have been attacked by Western media, politicians and writers. But Gallup, a global polling group, decided to report how Muslims perceive the Western world.
According to Reuters, Gallup has conducted research in 35 Muslim countries, interviewing more than 50,000 people over a six-year period, to come up with the first comprehensive survey of Muslim world opinion.
A book called “Who Speaks for Islam? What a billion Muslims really think”, will feature the survey findings.
“The conflict between Muslims and Western communities is far from inevitable”, said Dalia Mogahed, who co-authored the book with John Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University.
“It is more about policy than principles... Despite widespread anti-American and anti-British sentiment, Muslims around the world said they in fact admired much of what the West holds dear," including freedom of speech, democracy, technological progress and access to knowledge.
"Muslims do not see the West as monolithic -- their perception of different nations falls along policy, not cultural or religious lines," she said, according to Reuters.
Like many analysts and Islamic scholars, Mogahed believes that the media contributes to the growing Islamophobia worldwide. She even said that media-content analysis showed that the majority of U.S. TV news coverage is "sharply negative" of Islam, while Christianity is discussed on Islamic TV channels neutrally.
Although the Gallup survey indicated that Muslims resent the U.S. and UK due to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, it also showed that Muslims admire the freedom granted in these two countries.
- Double standards
Despite this, Muslims feel that they are disrespected by the Western world and that the values they claim to be spreading, such as democracy, are not being practiced when it comes to the Muslim world.
The most recent example of the Western double standards is the 2006 Palestinian election, which was won by Hamas, the Palestinian resistance group that has been boycotted by the U.S., EU and Israel since its victory.
“More than 65 percent of Egyptians, Jordanians and Iranians believe that the United States will not allow people in their region to fashion their own political future the way they see fit without direct U.S. influence," Mogahed said.
“When we asked Muslims around the world what the West can do to improve relations with the Muslim world, the most frequent responses were for the West to demonstrate more respect for Islam and to regard Muslims as equals, not as inferior."
The survey findings also showed that Muslims in conflict areas, where the U.S. is directly or indirectly involved, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territories, hold the lowest opinion of the United States.
- Islamic World News
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05-16-2008, 08:16 AM #1
What Muslims think of the WestCourage is not freedom from Fear.
It is being afraid and continuing on.
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