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.
Indians See Threat From Pakistan, Extremist Groups
Most Indians have a positive opinion of President Obama and the U.S. Many see Pakistan — and extremist groups linked to that nation — as a threat, but most also want better relations and deeper economic ties with their neighbor and rival.
Public Opinion in Pakistan: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips
Pakistanis have grown markedly less concerned about extremist groups, and are far more worried about the external threat from India. America’s image remains negative and support for U.S. involvement in the fight against extremists has waned. Many Pakistanis endorse extreme views about law, religion and society.
Obama More Popular Abroad than at Home, Global Image of U.S. Continues to Benefit
The president gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from the world (with the notable exception of the U.S.) for the way he has handled the world economic crisis. Obama’s personal popularity remains high, as do favorable views of the U.S. In a striking difference from the Bush years, while many around the world disagree with Obama’s foreign policies, the U.S. image has not been significantly dented as a result. Muslim countries, however, continue to hold a negative view of America and most also give Obama unfavorable ratings.
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.
Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans
The Pew Research Center’s comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests that, despite recent events, America is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than are Muslim minority communities in other countries.
Modest Rise In Concern About Islamic Extremism
Just more than half (52%) of Americans say they are very concerned about the possible rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S., up from 46% in April 2007.
Americans and Western Europeans Agree on Afghanistan-Pakistan Extremist Threat
While both Americans and Western Europeans generally believe the “Af-Pak” region potentially poses significant threats to national security, they do not share a common view about the deployment of military forces in Afghanistan.
Declining Support for bin Laden and Suicide Bombing
Confidence in al Qaeda’s leader has dropped considerably in recent years, particularly in Indonesia, Pakistan and Jordan. Violence against civilians in defense of Islam is also increasingly seen as never justified.