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A rather depressing survey in the Herald Tribune

The IHT carries an interesting survey on attitudes of Westeners to Muslims and vice versa. The whole item is well worth reading, but here are some of the stand outs:

"Pew asked respondents to give their opinions of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and it found anti-Jewish sentiment to be "overwhelming" in the Muslim countries surveyed. It reached 98 percent in Jordan and 97 percent in Egypt"

Turkey also stood out because of the high percentage now saying they do not believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Fifty-nine percent express disbelief, up from 43 percent in a Gallup survey in 2002. Disbelief was equally strong in Egypt, and stronger still in Indonesia (65 percent). Even in Britain, 56 percent of the Muslims surveyed did not believe that Arabs carried out the attacks; only 17 percent said they believed it."

And the comparatively good news:

As for suicide bombings, however, Pew found that support declined over the past year in Pakistan, Indonesia and especially Jordan, where 29 percent now say violence against civilian targets can often or sometimes be justified, down from 57 percent in 2005. Support remained sizable in Turkey, at 17 percent, and even higher in Egypt, at 28 percent.
In Pakistan, where 69 percent now say suicide bombings can never be justified, up from 46 percent last spring, those seeing relations as generally good (30 percent) outnumbered those viewing relations as bad (25 percent), although 39 percent were undecided. In follow-up interviews, people cited the Pakistani government's support of the U.S. war on terror as one reason for the mixed view.

And here is the report on Pew's own site


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Blogger Ellee Seymour said... 4:12 pm

It's these differences that make me concerned about Turkey joining the EU. These strong anti-Jewish feelings are very worrying, I wonder what has influenced them to change their views? Is it the Iraq war?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 4:35 pm

Not an easy one to answer, although Huntingdon describes Turkey as a torn country in 'Clash', the idea being that Ataturk's reforms and so forth are really only popular with the business, cultural and some of the political elite, whereas beneath that veneer Turkey still has an Islamic and non-Western character. As such, it isn't entirely surprising that a lot of Turks will feel cultural affinity and loyalty to the Palestinians, and therefore distinct antipathy to Israel.

I hum and hah as to whether getting Turkey into the EU is a good or bad idea - it could serve to embed secularism etc etc and reduce the moves back to Islamism, or conversely it could make for a whole lot of trouble in the EU. Not a call I would want to make, frankly.

Interestingly enough, there is a lot of military co-operation between the IDF and the Turkish military here's an example. However, the military in Turkey are, in the most literal sense, the guardians of Turkish secularism.  

Blogger barbara worth said... 11:16 am

Hello C, Ellee

I have to say I didn't find this quite as depressing as you guys apparently did- but them I'm a bit of a wild-eyed optimist.

I took a look at the survey and was struck (as usual) by how much the questions influence the answers.

For example, "Do you think Moslems are respectful of women?" Well I guess "respectful" is a pretty subjective term. Is it more respectful to insist that one's womenfolk cover up in hot and restrictive clothes or to have newsagents and petrol stations full of copies of the Sport and nudie magazines? Arguably neither is very respectful but by the same token there are many men who have great relationships with women, regardless of cultural peculiarities.

Statistics are useful up to a point but I love the sheer contrariness of people. One of my daughter's best friends is Moslem and I would say that the disciplinary regime at their house is even more disgracefully lax than the shambles that is chez Worth. Likewise I have a male business associate who is a model of fairness in his dealings with women, to the point where he insists on washing up his own coffee cups after meetings rather than leaving them for the secretaries or cleaners (like the rest of us). He also persists in calling his entire female acquaintance "the girlies".

On the more serious point of Turkey, it is clearly complex but on the whole I favour the inclusive approach -subject to some pretty strict conditions on human rights, etc.

Have a great week-end, folks.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:27 pm

Hi Barbara.

Nothing wrong with being an optimist, is there?

True, the questions were a bit leading, and the status of women here and there must look mutually odd. It is rather telling that no one would ever think to ask the same questions about we people with a 'Y' chromosome....

I had it hammered into me by my mid-range feminist sister that one should never refer to any female over the age of 18 as a 'girl' as it is automatically patronising, wrong etc etc. She'd even beard my mother for referring to her contemporaries as 'girls', which showed a distinct priggishness and an inability to contextualise. I think context is everything - if I call my mates 'the boys', it is rather different from when one of my female bosses (when I worked in the 'real' world) would routinely refer to the grown men in the office as 'boys'. Hey ho...  

Anonymous Verity said... 11:21 pm

When talking among my contemporaries, I refer to us as girls. And so do they. Sometimes, obviously, we also refer to ourselves as women, but no one takes offence at being called a girl. We are all, in our hearts, after all, girls.

Referring dismissively to women in the workplace as 'girls' though, is something else, and did need to be cleaned out. But those days are long gone.

From a feminist point of view, I don't care if some women want to pose forp shelf magazines, or in porn. I find it unpleasant, but none of my business.

This is the critical difference. Islam condemns women for making a choice. How dare they? It's no one else's business (except her family's, but I would expect her to be dealing with that)how an adult makes her living within the law.

For this reason, I do not want Turkey anywhere near the EU. In fact, I don't even want the EU.

If Britain got out and joined NAFTA, I wouldn't care what Turkey joined. But now, no, I don't want them in my club.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:00 am


Thank you for your thoughts - I hope I'll 'see' more of you in future.

The women / girls, men / boys business lends itself to being dubbed 'political correctness gone mad' by some, but for a long time I've reckoned a lot of what is called PC is really just good manners.

As to the veil / bikini debate (as it were) I see the core differences as being the right to choose and without the prospect of being lynched if others do not accept that choice.  

Blogger barbara worth said... 3:40 pm

Verity, C

You both make some very interesting points about pornography, the veil and freedom to choose. FWIW I agree with you both. I think pornography is an inevitable product of human nature and good luck to those who choose to make a living appearing in it, as long as they are not coerced or children.

However, my point was about the subjective nature of the word "respectful" and on the whole pornography is not respectful of women for the reason that it is based on the premise that women are of value purely for their looks. There is no getting away from the fact that men are largely driven to select a mate on the basis of appearance and women largely on the basis of power.

This is a biological imperative and as such inevitable but it is not "respectful" (in either case) of the person's other qualities. Ironically, the veil is based on exactly the same premise- that a woman's value is based on her looks and that these are the property of her husband or father.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:56 pm


It is intriguing that the 'Men's Health' archetype - impossible pectoral muscles and a shaved chest is becoming more visible in popular culture. I read somewhere that increases in male anorexia and male unhappiness with their bodies has increased no end in recent years. Clearly we chaps are nowhere near as under the cosh as women have been years, but a curious development nevertheless.  

Blogger barbara worth said... 5:27 pm

Hello C

Yes, I agree. Not only is there the "Men's health" stereotype you mention, there also seems to be a creeping move to make men feel insecure about ageing.

Ironically, most women I know don't like overly muscled men- toned, yes, but not this whole six packs, no chest hair and body oil thing. It does make me wonder if the art directors of these magazines are all gay men or perhaps it's a narcissistic thing and nothing to do with attracting women (just as a lot of female grooming is more about feeling good yourself or competing with other women!)

On the ageing front, L'Oreal have some horrible magazine ads with a photo of a very handsome man who has rather minor bags under his eyes and a few wrinkles and a strap line along the lines of "You think you look fine, she thinks you look old" or some such cr*p. I was so sorry to see this, I don't view it as progress at all.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:07 pm

It is an odd business, yes. I found the whole Chippendales business of a few years back pricelessly funny as a certain gay archetype of male perfection was being marketed as an ideal for women to lust after.

On a vaguely similar tack, the cult of the 'super' model is an odd one too, as those women have risen to the top on the basis of their appeal to other women, so I tend to think that men who view them as the pinnacle of desirability have rather missed the point.

You are right on the money with that L'Oreal advert. I'm rather fond of the bags under my eyes and I like looking vaguely debauched  

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