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Worldwide Poll Finds Most Reject Clash of Civilizations Outlook

A large-scale survey commissioned by the BBC finds that, despite current global tensions, the majority of people around the world reject the notion of a clash of civilizations between the west and Islam. For VOA News, Tom Rivers reports from London.

A violent clash between the west and the Islamic world is not inevitable. That is the view of the majority of those surveyed for the BBC.

The research, carried out by pollsters from GlobeScan, examined the views of around 28,000 people in 27 countries around the world.

Those who felt that common ground could be found between the west and the Islamic world outnumbered those who felt that a clash was inevitable by a two-to-one margin.

While 29 percent responded that religious and cultural differences lie at the heart of current tensions, many more, 52 percent, believe that political power and political interests stand as the most important root causes.

GlobeScan president Doug Miller says, that means most people want, and would back, their political leaders to find practical solutions, based upon the values shared by all communities.

"I think it is clear that more moderate leaders have the support, and on both sides, [and] that likely peacemakers are going to come to the fore," said Miller.

In Lebanon, for instance, nearly four-out-of-five questioned said east-west political motivations were to blame, however more than two-thirds said they believed that common ground could be found between the west and the Islamic world.

On a worldwide basis, 51 percent of those identified as Christians said that political conflict was creating tensions, while 55 percent of Muslims felt that way.

And as a whole, 58 percent of those questioned said intolerant minorities were to blame.