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Survey Finds Most Muslims Upbeat on Globalization


A survey conducted in predominantly Muslim nations shows an overall embrace of globalization, trade, and integration into the world economy. From Washington, VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

For those who view Muslims as generally insular, inward-looking and suspicious of the world at large, the results of the poll may come as a surprise.

Conducted by the U.S.-headquartered group, WorldPublicOpinion.org, the poll surveyed the opinions of more than 5,000 people in Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Indonesia, the Palestinian territories, and Muslim areas of Nigeria.

"All of the Muslim countries we polled in, a majority or at least a plurality said that they thought that globalization, defined as the increasing connections of our economy with others around the world, is mostly good for their country," said WorldPublicOpinion.org director Steven Kull. "Egypt and the Muslim population of Nigeria - in those countries 8-in-10 said [globalization] is mostly good."

Overall, the poll found 63 percent of Muslims rating globalization favorably, with 59 percent viewing trade as beneficial.

When reservations about globalization were expressed, respondents did not focus on how the Muslim faith might be affected by growing international ties. Rather, the survey found Muslims concerned about the impact of globalization on the environment and job security.

Kull noted that these views are hardly unique to Muslims.

"The patterns we found here [in the survey] are no different than the patterns around the world. These sentiments are quite common," he said.

Kull added that the survey results dispel some common perceptions about Muslims.

"Many people assume that people in the Muslim world are uncomfortable with the notion of globalization, that they are afraid of the outside world undermining their culture," said Kull. "It is often interpreted that the negative feelings that the people in the Muslim world express toward the West are derived from as kind of separatist impulse, a desire to not integrate with the larger world. And while there clearly are negative feelings towards the West, it does not lead them to ultimately want to be separate."

The poll was conducted with the assistance of academic institutions in the countries surveyed.

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