It doesn’t matter what rhetorical polishing President Bush’s team has done to market the “War on Terror.” Outside the United States, it’s perceived as an effort to undermine—even attack—Islam, according to a report by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a research group affiliated with the University of Maryland.
“While US leaders may frame the conflict as a war on terrorism, people in the Islamic world clearly perceive the US as being at war with Islam,â said Steven Kull, editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org.
Via the Bible Belt Blogger:
Muslims have raised concerns about the “War on Terrorism” since President Bush briefly dubbed it a “crusade” back in September 2001. [The word, which conjures up images of medieval battles between Christians and Muslims, was quickly scrapped.]
In Egypt, 92 percent of those polled believe one of the U.S.‘s goals is to weaken and divide the Islamic world. Only four percent disagreed. Seventy-eight percent agreed with the statement in Morocco, and 73 percent shared that view in Pakistan and Indonesia.
While suspicious of U.S. foreign policy, the people polled also expressed opposition to terrorism. Attacks aimed at civilians to carry out political goals are “not at all justified” according to 57 percent of Moroccans, 77 percent of Egyptians, 81 percent of Pakistanis and 84 percent of Indonesians.
U.S. Muslims were not surveyed. Though Muslim Americans might not believe the United States is at war with Islam, they have grown increasingly concerned about home-grown Islamophobia. When I wrote about this two weeks ago, it incited some e-mails that warranted their fears.
But this statement from WorldPublicOpinion’s press release helps explain why some Americans broadly paint Muslims as scary:
Most respondents have mixed feelings about al Qaeda. Large majorities agree with many of its goals, but believe that terrorist attacks on civilians are contrary to Islam.
Many people would stop reading after that first sentence.