Most Muslims Want Democracy, Personal Freedoms and Islam in Political Life
More than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations. A substantial number in key Muslim countries also want a large role for Islam in political life. Meanwhile, few think the U.S. favors democracy in the Middle East.
Arab Spring Fails to Improve U.S. Image
The rise of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East has not led to an improvement in America’s image in the region. Instead, in key Arab nations and in other predominantly Muslim countries, views of the U.S. remain negative, as they have been for nearly a decade. And, with the exception of Indonesia, Obama remains unpopular in the Muslim nations polled.
Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah
While Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics around the globe, opinions of al Qaeda and bin Laden are consistently negative. Meanwhile, most Muslims surveyed welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ politics, and most also say democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.
Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations
A survey of Muslims in eight countries and the Palestinian territories finds little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations, little support for Muslim political leaders and the widespread perception of a Sunni-Shia conflict. Most Muslims are also convinced there is a struggle between modernization and fundamentalists, and publics overwhelmingly support educating girls and boys equally.
Unfavorable Views of Both Jews and Muslims Increase in Europe
Publics that view Jews unfavorably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light. However, the trend in negative views toward Muslims in Europe has occurred over a longer period of time than recently growing anti-Semitic sentiment.