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Gallop Poll Surveys World's Muslims

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    Major survey challenges Americans Zionistic perceptions of Islam The American Free Press Tuesday, February 26, 2008 WASHINGTON: A huge survey of the world s
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2008
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      Major survey challenges Americans' Zionistic perceptions of Islam
      The American Free Press
      Tuesday, February 26, 2008


      WASHINGTON: A huge survey of the world's Muslims released Tuesday
      challenges Western notions that equate Islam with radicalism and violence.

      The survey, conducted by the Gallup polling agency over six years and
      three continents, seeks to dispel the belief held by some in the West
      that Islam itself is the driving force of radicalism.

      It shows that the overwhelming majority of Muslims condemned the
      attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 and other
      subsequent terrorist attacks, the authors of the study said in Washington.

      "Samuel Harris said in the Washington Times (in 2004): 'It is time we
      admitted that we are not at war with terrorism. We are at war with
      Islam'," Dalia Mogahed, co-author of the book "Who Speaks for Islam"
      which grew out of the study, told a news conference here.

      "The argument Mr Harris makes is that religion in the primary driver"
      of radicalism and violence, she said.

      "Religion is an important part of life for the overwhelming majority
      of Muslims, and if it were indeed the driver for radicalisation, this
      would be a serious issue."

      But the study, which Gallup says surveyed a sample equivalent to 90
      percent of the world's Muslims, showed that widespread religiosity
      "does not translate into widespread support for terrorism," said
      Mogahed, director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

      About 93 percent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and
      only seven percent are politically radical, according to the poll,
      based on more than 50,000 interviews.

      In majority Muslim countries, overwhelming majorities said religion
      was a very important part of their lives -- 99 percent in Indonesia,
      98 percent in Egypt, 95 percent in Pakistan.

      But only seven percent of the billion Muslims surveyed -- the radicals
      -- condoned the attacks on the United States in 2001, the poll showed.

      Moderate Muslims interviewed for the poll condemned the 9/11 attacks
      on New York and Washington because innocent lives were lost and
      civilians killed.

      "Some actually cited religious justifications for why they were
      against 9/11, going as far as to quote from the Koran -- for example,
      the verse that says taking one innocent life is like killing all
      humanity," she said.

      Meanwhile, radical Muslims gave political, not religious, reasons for
      condoning the attacks, the poll showed.

      The survey shows radicals to be neither more religious than their
      moderate counterparts, nor products of abject poverty or refugee camps.

      "The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more
      hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims," John
      Esposito, who co-authored "Who Speaks for Islam", said.

      "Ironically, they believe in democracy even more than many of the
      mainstream moderates do, but they're more cynical about whether
      they'll ever get it," said Esposito, a professor of Islamic studies at
      Georgetown University in Washington.

      Gallup launched the study following 9/11, after which US President
      George W. Bush asked in a speech, which is quoted in the book: "Why do
      they hate us?"

      "They hate... a democratically elected government," Bush offered as a
      reason.

      "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of
      speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

      But the poll, which gives ordinary Muslims a voice in the global
      debate that they have been drawn into by 9/11, showed that most
      Muslims -- including radicals -- admire the West for its democracy,
      freedoms and technological prowess.

      What they do not want is to have Western ways forced on them, it said.
      "Muslims want self-determination, but not an American-imposed and
      -defined democracy. They don't want secularism or theocracy. What the
      majority wants is democracy with religious values," said Esposito.

      The poll has given voice to Islam's silent majority, said Mogahed.

      "A billion Muslims should be the ones that we look to, to understand
      what they believe, rather than a vocal minority," she told AFP.

      Muslims in 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East
      were interviewed for the survey, which is part of Gallup's World Poll
      that aims to interview 95 percent of the world's population.

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