Westerners, Muslims share negative views: poll

While many in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent, and intolerant and Muslims generally view Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy, European Muslims seem to represent the middle ground between the two extremes, according to a new global poll.

“After a year marked by riots over cartoon portrayals of [Prophet] Muhammad, a major terrorist attack in London, and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Muslims and Westerners are convinced that relations between them are generally bad these days,” said a survey by the American Pew Global Attitudes Project involving 14,000 people in 13 countries and posted on its website.

About 83 percent of Spaniards and 78 percent of Germans seem Muslims as fanatics, showed the results. Nearly half of the French and Britons interviewed, 50 and 48 respectively, share the same view. In the United States, the percentage went slightly down with 43 percent of those surveyed associating Muslims with fanaticism. Similarly, sixty percent of Spaniards and 52 percent of Germans believe that Muslims are violent people, according to the poll. The numbers went down in the US, France and Britain to 45, 41 and 32 percent respectively.

Despite the negative trait attributions, solid majorities in France, Britain and the US still retain overall favorable opinions of Muslims. The Germans and Spanish express much more negative views of both Muslims and Arabs than do the French, British or Americans.

Islam Online, 23 June 2006

The Pew Centre report can be downloaded (pdf) here.