På overflaten har muslimers negative holdning til USA bare vokst verden over siden 911. Men skraper man litt dypere dukker mer interessante tall opp: muslimer er fascinert av friheten og demokratiet i USA og liker amerikanernes sans for familie og religon.

Det er Gallups Senter for muslimstudier i New York som har utspurt 10.000 muslimer i ti muslimdominerte land.

Målingen presenteres som at aldri har USA vært mindre populær. Men så dukker overraskelsene opp:

The Gallup findings indicate that, in terms of spiritual values and the emphasis on the family and the future, Americans have more in common with Muslims than they do with their Western counterparts in Europe.

A large number of Muslims supported the Western ideal of democratic government. Fifty per cent of radicals supported democracy, compared with 35 per cent of moderates.

Religion was found to have little to do with radicalisation or antipathy towards Western culture. Muslims were condemnatory of promiscuity and a sense of moral decay. What they admired most was liberty, its democratic system, technology and freedom of speech.

Det er interessant at så mange har sans for personlig frihet, men innenfor rammene av familien og religion. Europeisk avkristnet, sekulær kultur ser ut til å være mer problematisk.

Mange muslimer ønsker seg likestilling feks. men de ønsker samtidig sharia innført. For vestlige øyne er dette uforenlige verdier.

While there was widespread support for Sharia, or Islamic law, only a minority wanted religious leaders to be making laws. Most women in the predominantly Muslim countries believed that Sharia should be the source of a nation’s laws, but they strongly believed in equal rights for women.

This finding indicates the complexity of the struggle ahead for Western understanding. Few Western commentators can see how women could embrace the veil, Sharia and equal rights at the same time.

Et annet viktig funn var at de radikale ikke befinner seg på bunnen av samfunnsstigen, men blant de høyere utdannede. De er heller ikke spesielt mer religiøse enn de såkalt moderate.

Gallup says that because terrorists often hijack Islamic precepts for their own ends, pundits and politicians in the West sometimes portray Islam as a religion of terrorism.

«They often charge that religious fervour triggers radical and violent views,» said John Esposito, a religion professor, and Dalia Mogahed, Gallup’s Muslim studies director, in one analysis. «But the data say otherwise. There is no significant difference in religiosity between moderates and radicals. In fact, radicals are no more likely to attend religious services regularly than are moderates.»

They continue: «It’s no secret that many in the Muslim world suffer from crippling poverty and lack of education. But are radicals any poorer than their fellow Muslims? We found the opposite: there is indeed a key difference between radicals and moderates when it comes to income and education, but it is the radicals who earn more and stay in school longer.»

In fact, the surveys found that the radicals were more satisfied with their finances and quality of life than moderates.

Anti-American feelings soar among Muslims, study finds