Muslims Who Go Online See U.S. Culture in Better Light

Article excerpt

Want Muslims to have a better opinion of the United States? Get them on the Internet.

That would seem to be the lesson from an analysis released May 31 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The study found that Muslims who use the Internet are much more likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity and have favorable views of Western music, film, and television.

But in a survey of roughly 38,000 Muslims in 39 countries and territories, just 18 percent said they used the Internet. Online use was as low as 2 percent in Afghanistan, compared to 56 percent in Kosovo, an autonomous region in Serbia.

The new analysis supplements a larger Pew report on global Muslims released April 30.

Internet users in the countries surveyed tended to be younger, better educated and male, but even Muslims who were not in these categories were more likely to see Muslim-Christian commonalities and view Western culture favorably if they were online.

On the question of similarities between Islam and Christianity, the differences between Internet users and nonusers was most pronounced in Pakistan, where 35 percent of Internet users saw similarities, compared to only 7 percent of nonusers. …