February 19, 2007

JUST A POTHOLE ALONG THE WAY:

Global Poll Finds that Religion and Culture are Not to Blame for Tensions between Islam and the West (World Public Opinion, 2/19/-07)

The global public believes that tensions between Islam and the West arise from conflicts over political power and interests and not from differences of religion and culture, according to a BBC World Service poll across 27 countries.

While three in ten (29%) believe religious or cultural differences are the cause of tensions, a slight majority (52%) say tensions are due to conflicting interests.

The poll also reveals that most people see the problems arising from intolerant minorities and not the cultures as a whole. While 26 percent believe fundamental differences in cultures are to blame, 58 percent say intolerant minorities are causing the conflict - with most of these (39% of the full sample) saying that the intolerant minorities are on both sides.

The idea that violent conflict is inevitable between Islam and the West is mainly rejected by Muslims, non-Muslims and Westerners alike. While more than a quarter of all respondents (28%) think that violent conflict is inevitable, twice as many (56%) believe that "common ground can be found."

The survey of over 28,000 respondents across 27 countries was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated the fieldwork between November 2006 and January 2007.

"Most people around the world clearly reject the idea that Islam and the West are caught in an inevitable clash of civilizations," said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, added: "Perhaps the strongest finding is that so many people across the world blame intolerant minorities on both sides for the tensions between Islam and the West."


While the clash is inevitable, there's little reason to believe it will be particularly violent, especially by comparison to the clashes that took down the isms that were simply incompatible with Western culture.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2007 11:53 AM
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