The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

What a Billion Muslims Really Think

with 4 comments

“[N]o one in Washington had any idea what 1.3 billion Muslims were thinking, and yet we were working on intricate strategies that were going to change the world for all time.” (-Jim Clifton, Gallup Chairman and CEO.) But there’s good news:

Muslims prayingIn order to discover what Muslims truly think, Gallup spent 6 years interviewing nearly 50,000 Muslims from 35 countries representing the most comprehensive analysis of the wishes, desires, grievances, complaints, and opinions of nearly 1.3 billion Muslims.

The results were collected and analyzed by John L. Esposito, a leading American expert on Islam and University Professor at Georgetown, and Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, in their new, groundbreaking work: “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.

Get it? For the first time, ever, we have a basis for saying “most Muslims are of the opinion … “ And the conclusions may shake things up.

clipped from
When Muslims are asked, “Do they admire anything about the West?” contrast that to Americans when asked, “What do you admire about Muslims?” The answer of majority Americans is either, “I don’t know” or “Nothing.” So, close to 56% Americans say this. Muslims, even though they do resent us, they talk about how they admire us. How they admire our freedom, how they admire our work ethic, our technology, and a whole slew of qualities. When asked, “What do you resent about the West and what concerns you about the West?” They are very clear about this as well. They’re very clear about resenting the denigration of Islam and Muslims and painting them as extremists. They’re very clear about being concerned about [American] invasion or “dominance.” But the important thing here is that the notion—“they hate us for who we are”, our values, our freedoms, and our democratization—is simply refuted.
blog it

“Simply refuted.” Well, this suggests that the security debate needs to be built on a different set of issues than we’ve thought. For if “they hate our freedom,” after all, there’s not a lot we can do but defend ourselves.

But if that’s not the issue – if, in fact, they hate us for our put-downs and domineering foreign policy – those are things that we Americans have power to change, because they’re in us. We can keep putting facts on the table. We can insist that politicians craft a new kind of foreign policy.

It’ll be a tough sell, though. For much of US politics and industry has organized around the “they hate us for who we are” outlook; many influential people will lose power and money if Americans demand change.

Check out the “clipped from” link for more data.

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Written by Monte

March 6, 2008 at 12:33 pm

4 Responses

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  1. […] to admire about Muslims? March 14, 2008 — Monte After I posted What Muslims Really Think, a reader left an important comment. You won’t find it pleasant, for it points to one of the […]

  2. Hi Monte! I hope you don’t mind if I answer here & now.

    I admire Muslims for their ability to forgive us our overbearing arrogance and violence, shown in their ability to admire anything about a people that bombs their cities. I also admire their spunk, from the individuals I’ve dealt with. Many of them are not afraid to go against the majority, that’s for sure. (I attended a college with a fairly large Muslim population, and roomed with one for a year, because it housed an English-language school on the campus, and many of those students would transfer once they’d mastered the language.) Of course there are things I’d like to see changed in their culture (as in our own). My roomie complained about many of her experiences as a girl in Saudi Arabia, and she also had no sense of how to socialize with males, which made getting an education in a co-ed college a little complicated. Many do seem to have some anger-management issues, as well, as evidenced by the extreme violence their extremists are capable of, and the prevalence of violence against women, as well (something American culture is hardly immune to, I have to add).

    Monte, I don’t believe anyone in power actually ever bought the “they hate our freedom” claptrap. That was purely propaganda. You know this has always been a mineral-rights issue. Is it any wonder that both Gulf wars were brought to bear by a family with Texas-oil connections?

    One thing I definitely do not admire about the majority of my fellow Americans is their ability to buy whatever lie they’re told, as long as the gas prices (clothing prices, grocery prices) stay down. Child labor, slave labor, environmental degradation, (military takeover of a sovereign nation), as long as it happens elsewhere, no problem! All in the name of free trade. Freedom. Freedom to cheat economically (by eschewing locations where such things are regulated) is what these trade agreements mean, and American jobs go down the toilet, as well as the quality of life for the whole planet (pollution knows no boundaries, and crimes like slavery — not to mention the killing of innocents — poison our souls). Bah.

    Fair trade makes more sense, if we want to survive as a species on this planet.

    Sorry to rant off topic, but it’s all connected, you know. Okay Wal-mart shoppers, back to your own weltanschauung.


    March 8, 2008 at 7:34 pm

  3. TRO: Many thanks for the honesty of your question. I think I’ll make a post of it next week, submit some thoughts of my own, and invite others to join in. It’s something we really do need to be talking about!


    March 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

  4. I cannot think of one think I admire about Muslims, or should I say Islam, since I have met individual Muslims that I do admire. I was wondering if you could list some of the things you admire about Islam that I might consider.


    March 7, 2008 at 8:08 pm

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