February 4, 2010

Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations

Chapter 3. Views of Religious Groups

In the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed, views of Jews are largely unfavorable. Nearly all in Jordan (97%), the Palestinian territories (97%) and Egypt (95%) hold an unfavorable view. Similarly, 98% of Lebanese express an unfavorable opinion of Jews, including 98% among both Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as 97% of Lebanese Christians. By contrast, only 35% of Israeli Arabs express a negative opinion of Jews, while 56% voice a favorable opinion.

Negative views of Jews are also widespread in the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed in Asia: More than seven-in-ten in Pakistan (78%) and Indonesia (74%) express unfavorable opinions. A majority in Turkey (73%) also hold a critical view.

Among Nigerians, overall views are split (44% favorable, 44% unfavorable), but opinions divide sharply along religious lines. Fully 60% of Nigerian Muslims have an unfavorable view of Jews, compared with only 28% of Christians.

In general, Christians receive more positive ratings than Jews, although sizeable numbers in predominantly Muslim nations nonetheless express negative attitudes toward Christians. Unfavorable ratings of Christians are particularly widespread in Turkey, where roughly two-in-three (68%) express a negative view.

Among the Middle Eastern nations surveyed, negativity toward Christians is especially common in Egypt, where opinions are divided: 49% hold an unfavorable opinion and 51% express a favorable view.

Just over four-in-ten in Jordan (44%), Israel (44%) and the Palestinian territories (43%) express critical views of Christians. However, views differ among groups within Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israeli Jews are more than twice as likely as Israeli Arabs to give Christians an unfavorable rating (49% vs. 20%). Likewise, negativity is more widespread among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (52%) than in the West Bank (40%).

By contrast, Lebanese opinion is relatively uniform. Few overall (12%) or among the different religious groups – Shia (17%), Sunni (14%) and Christian (6%) – express a dim view of Christians.

Negative views of Christians are common in Pakistan, where 61% hold an unfavorable opinion. Indonesians are divided: many (43%) express an unfavorable opinion of Christians, while just as many (45%) voice the opposite favorable view. Overall, only one-in-five (21%) in Nigeria express a negative view of Christians. However, nearly four-in-ten (39%) Nigerian Muslims hold this opinion.