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Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2002

Poll shows Islamic countries resent U.S.

February 28, 2002

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— Residents of Islamic countries harbor deep resentment toward the United States and believe the military action in Afghanistan is not morally justified, Gallup polls conducted in nine countries find.

The polls were taken in December and January in nine predominantly Muslim countries Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

People in those countries had widespread doubts that Arabs were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The percentage that believed Arabs were not involved ranged from 89 percent in Kuwait, which was liberated by U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf war a decade ago, to 43 percent in Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States.

Six in 10 in Turkey felt that the U.S. military action was unjustified, while nine in 10 in Indonesia felt that way.

Respondents had divergent feelings about the United States generally. Residents of Turkey were slightly more inclined to have a favorable view of the United States than unfavorable, and they were about evenly split on that question in Lebanon. About a quarter or less had a favorable view of the United States in the other seven countries.

President Bush, asked Wednesday about the poll, said: "There is no question that we must do a better job of telling the compassionate side of this country. If the United States shows leadership in the war on terrorism, he said, "the world will follow."

Bush is almost as unpopular in those countries as he is popular here in the United States. One-fifth or less of the populations in most of the Muslim countries liked Bush, while the number who disliked him was as high as two-thirds in Lebanon and Morocco.

Gallup interviewed 9,924 adults in the countries. The error margins for the nine separate polls ranged from plus or minus 2 percentage points in Pakistan to plus or minus 4 percentage points in Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

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