Anti-US Feelings Decline in Pakistan

London: Anti-American feelings in Pakistan have come down during the last five years as 65 per cent Pakistanis disliked the Americans in 2006 against 69 per cent in 2001 amid new findings that “a wealthier and better-educated” Muslim was more likely to be radicalized, reveals a new survey conducted recently.
The Times reported last Wednesday that seven percent believe that the events of 9/11 were “completely justified”. Gallup’s Center for Muslim Studies in New York carried out surveys of 10,000 Muslims in ten predominantly Muslim countries. One finding was that the wealthier and better-educated a Muslim was, the more likely he was to be radicalized.
The surveys were carried out in 2005 and 2006. Along with an earlier Gallup survey in nine other countries in 2001, they represent the views of more than 90 percent of the world’s Muslims. A further 1,500 Muslims in London, Paris and Berlin are involved in a separate poll to be published in April.
Percentage with unfavorable view of US in 2005 (all increased since 9/11 except where indicated: Saudi Arabia 79 percent, Jordan 65 percent, Morocco 49 percent, Iran 52 percent (down from 63 percent in 2001), and Pakistan 65 percent (down from 69 percent in 2001).
The findings come in a climate of growing mistrust between Muslims and the West. Another recent survey in the US found that 39 per cent of Americans felt some prejudice towards Muslims.
The Gallup findings indicate that, in terms of spiritual values and the emphasis on the family and the future, Americans have more in common with Muslims than they do with their Western counterparts in Europe.
A large number of Muslims supported the Western ideal of democratic government. Fifty percent of radicals supported democracy, compared with 35 percent of moderates.
Religion was found to have little to do with radicalization or antipathy towards Western culture. Muslims were condemnatory of promiscuity and a sense of moral decay. What they admired most was liberty, its democratic system, technology and freedom of speech. While there was widespread support for Sharia, only a minority wanted religious leaders to be making laws. Most women in the predominantly Muslim countries believed that Sharia should be the source of a nation’s laws, but they strongly believed in equal rights for women.
This finding indicates the complexity of the struggle ahead for Western understanding. Few Western commentators can see how women could embrace the veil, Sharia and equal rights at the same time. Researchers set out to examine the truth behind the stock response in the West to the question of when it will know it is winning the war on terror. Foreign policy experts tend to believe that victory will come when the Islamic world rejects radicalism. “Every politician has a theory: radicals are religious fundamentalists; they are poor; they are full of hopeless-ness and hate. But those theories are wrong,” the researchers reported.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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