People in US, Europe have slightly better views of Muslims, but negative perceptions persist

WASHINGTON — Attitudes about Muslim-Western relations have become slightly more positive in the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Russia compared with five years ago, though negative views between Muslim countries and the West persist on both sides, a Pew Research Center survey found.

The survey, by Pew’s Global Attitudes Project, found majorities of Muslims surveyed in five of six Muslim-dominant countries and the Palestinian territories described non-Muslim Westerners as selfish and greedy. In all of the six Western countries surveyed, fewer than 30 percent of non-Muslims said they consider Muslims respectful of women.

Majorities of Muslims interviewed in most of the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed were inclined to say relations with people in Western countries are bad. There has been no overall improvement in those views in the predominantly Muslim nations in the last five years.

Westerners are less likely to believe relations are poor today than they were five years ago.

Muslims, West see divisions deepening

Most people in Muslim and Western countries believe divisions between them are worsening and each side believes the other disrespects their culture, according to a poll released. The Gallup poll, published in a report on Muslim-Western relations for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this week, reflects “an alarmingly low level of optimism regarding dialogue between Islam and the West”, WEF chairman Klaus Schwab said. Negative perceptions were most prevalent in the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, partly because of violence in Iraq five years after the US-led invasion and because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the report said. “In all but two countries surveyed…a majority believed the interaction between Western and Islamic communities is getting worse,” Schwab said of the poll, which questioned around 1,000 people in each of 21 countries.