While the image of the United States has improved throughout many parts of the world during Barack Obama’s presidency, negative views of America remain stubbornly persistent in key Muslim countries. Much of this animosity is due to continuing concerns about U.S. power and widespread opposition to major elements of American foreign policy.
Muslim and Western publics continue to largely agree that relations between them are poor, and disagree about who is at fault – Muslims largely blame Westerners, while those in the West generally blame Muslims. However, in both Western and predominantly Muslim nations, there is a shared concern about the threat posed by Islamic extremism.
The French public overwhelmingly endorses a ban on full Islamic veils in public places, and majorities in other Western European nations surveyed would also welcome such a ban in their countries. In contrast, most Americans would oppose prohibiting Muslim women from wearing full veils in public.
Only Modest Changes in U.S. Image in Predominantly Muslim Countries
Once he takes office, President-elect Barack Obama will have to navigate a world that has grown highly critical of the United States. Since 2001, the Pew Global Attitudes Project has documented a decline in America’s international image amid widespread opposition to U.S. foreign policy.
Growing numbers of people in several major European countries say they have an unfavorable opinion of Jews, and opinions of Muslims also are more negative than they were several years ago. These findings are from a new Pew Global Attitudes Project report, based on data gathered from 24 countries from regions throughout the world, that examine worldwide religiosity and take a close look at Muslim publics’ attitudes toward terrorism, Osama bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah and more.
Views of the U.S. in the Muslim World (from The National Interest)
Foreign Policy, Not Public Diplomacy, Mostly Determines How the World Views America
Westerners and Muslims Associate a Variety of Negative Traits With One Another
The Turkish Public’s Opinions of America Have Hit Rock Bottom
The Pontiff Visits a Country Where Negative Views of Christians and the West Are on the Rise
Except in France, most Muslim women choose to cover their heads — but many among the general public disapprove
President travels to a country with volatile views of U.S.
Is France Doing a Better Job of Integration than Its Critics?
Concerns Pre-Date Airplane Plot
Remarks of Andrew Kohut to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
Few Signs of Backlash From Western Europeans
After a year marked by riots over cartoon portrayals of Muhammad, a major terrorist attack in London, and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Muslims and Westerners see relations between them as generally bad.
America’s global image has again slipped and support for the war on terrorism has declined even among close U.S. allies like Japan. The war in Iraq is a continuing drag on opinions of the United States, not only in predominantly Muslim countries but in Europe and Asia as well. And despite growing concern over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the U.S. presence in Iraq is cited at least as often as Iran – and in many countries much more often – as a danger to world peace.
Testimony of Andrew Kohut, U.S. House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Concerns over Islamic extremism, extensive in the West even before this month’s terrorist attacks in London, are shared to a considerable degree by the publics in several predominantly Muslim nations surveyed.
Anti-Americanism in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which surged as a result of the U.S. war in Iraq, shows modest signs of abating. But the United States remains broadly disliked in most countries surveyed, and the opinion of the American people is not as positive as it once was.
A Pew Global Attitudes Project commentary
Remarks of Andrew Kohut to The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the Pew Research Center and several other major survey organizations have conducted a number of international polls. These surveys have been illuminating, showing a vast opinion gulf between the American public and people elsewhere. Yet they also reveal, surprisingly, the ways in which the United States is admired around [...]