Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Evidence that Occidental, Islamic worlds incompatible continues to mount

A survey conducted in four Muslim countries illustrates how wide the chasm between the West and the Islamic world is. WPO's findings are based on interviews of 3,752 people from Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Egypt. All four of these nations are putative allies of the US. So this is friendly territory as far as the Islamic world goes. The percentage of people in each country who hold an unfavorable, favorable (ratio) view of the US government:

Morocco - 76%, 16% (5:1)
Egypt - 93%, 4% (23:1)
Pakistan - 67%, 15% (9:2)
Indonesia - 66%, 20% (3:1)

If these are our friends, I'd hate to see our enemies.

Many egocentric neocons and cosmopolitan leftists fail to understand that the Islamic world sees the West, including the exporting of ideas on liberalism and universal human rights, as a continuance of the Crusades that began at the end of the 11th Century. Overwhelming majorities in each country feel the US is trying to weaken and divide Islam (not especially surprising, given the fertile Sunni-Shia battleground we've helped create in Iraq). More telling are the majorities who believe a chief US goal is to spread Christianity. The percentage who think it is, is not (ratio):

Morocco - 67%, 22% (3:1)
Pakistan - 64%, 14% (9:2)
Indonesia - 61%, 21% (3:1)

Why nothing for Egypt? Mubarak's government wouldn't allow WPO to ask its citizenry the question. That significant majorities believe the US is trying to propagate its dying religion can be interpreted in a few ways. Either a significant majority of people in the Islamic world are blindly stuck in the 12th Century, most of the Muslim world sees Christianity, the West, and liberalism as essentially one-in-the-same and doesn't want any of it, or the idea of religious self-determination is tantamount to promoting Christianity in the eyes of an inherently intolerant Islam.

While the actions of the coalition that overthrew the Taliban and is now attempting to stabilize Afghanistan are seen by most in the US and Europe as noble and worthy while the war in Iraq is increasingly seen as ignoble and foolish, the Islamic world apparently scarcely distinguishes between the two. The percentage who support attacks, oppose attacks on US troops in Iraq (precise ratio):

Morocco - 68%, 14% (4.86:1)
Egypt - 91%, 4% (22.75:1)
Pakistan - 35%, 35% (1:1)
Indonesia - 19%, 61% (.311:1)

The same, but in Afghanistan:

Morocco - 61%, 17% (3.59:1)
Egypt - 91%, 4% (22.75:1)
Pakistan - 34%, 33% (1.03:1)
Indonesia - 19%, 59% (.322:1)

People in Pakistan and Indonesia show slightly more support for attacks on US troops in Afghanistan than they do for attacks on US troops in Iraq. Moroccans are the other way around, while Egyptians equally (and viscerally!) hope for American deaths in both theaters. To the extent that there is a discernible difference in support levels, geography matters. Pakistan and Indonesia are closer to Afghanistan (and Pakistan's ISI has been a long-time supporter and financer of the Taliban). Morocco is nearer to Iraq.

Western justifications for taking action are pie-in-the-sky for those in the Muslim world. It's rubbish to them. In all four countries, more people have a positive view of bin Laden than a negative one, and more people favor strict application of Sharia Law than do not. They're not buying our values. They're probably not capable of doing so.

They don't want us near them. We shouldn't want them near us, either. The Occident and the Muslim worlds are incompatible. We should divorce from one another as entirely as is possible. Neocons are sounding Europe's death knell in supporting Turkey's bid for admittance to the EU:
Turkish converts to Christianity fear for their lives after the brutal murder of three people at a Christian publisher. Angela Merkel has called for Ankara to promote religious tolerance, while secular intellectuals ask why the 99-percent Muslim country can't put up with a few Christians.
While those who support attacks on civilians in the US and Europe are clearly minorities in their countries, their absolute numbers are still plenty scary. The extrapolated number of people in each country who approve of terrorist attacks on civilians in the US, in Europe:

Morocco - 2.4 million, 2 million
Egypt - 4.8 million, 3.2 million
Pakistan - 8.2 million, 9.9 million
Indonesia - 9.4 million, 7 million

Indeed, those holding such views are in a minority across the Muslim world. But 100 million is still a significant minority to deal with. Worse still, these 100 million are more educated, affluent, and urbanized than Muslims in general. In a perverse way, the market is rewarding more capable Muslims:
The most spectacular and technically difficult Palestinian suicide bomb attacks are being assigned to older and better educated bombers because they are more likely to succeed, a new study shows.
The death of the West is a horribly painful thing to witness.


JSBolton said...

Another piece of good work, assembling data, which reminds me of the May issue of Nat. Geo.'s graphs that you probably want to look at.
They show how counties have changed in terms of years of education in their population, relative to the national average, 1950-2000.
LA stands out especially for amazing loss in its relative standing for HS and college diplomas.
Someone could make great observations from those maps, and explain the driving process, particularly excluding explanations other than quality of population.
New England did not move right, while LA county hurtled leftward; both moved somewhat leftward, but not differentially so, nor in such degree, as could explain things, 'human-capital'-wise.

Audacious Epigone said...


What feature are the graphs included in? Don't see them here.

I'll have access to a hardcopy soon, though.

JSBolton said...