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Polls show anti-American feelings at all time high in Muslim countries

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The destruction that might be unleashed around the Middle East, and possibly the world, from the US decision to go to war in Iraq is only now becoming clear. For the US to say that its patience is limited and that it can at best be a catalyst in the face of the furies and destruction it has unleashed is precisely the sort of self-serving double standard that causes so many people around the world to fear and resist the US.

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Mr. Khouri also writes that, on the issue of double standards, the matter of "responsibility, impunity, and accountability is rising higher on the list of priorities of people" in the region. And while judicial processes are underway in the Arab world in countries like Iraq, Jordan and Sudan to bring those associated with violent acts to justice, he wonders if only Arabs and Muslims will be held accountable for their "brutality and crimes ... or is it possible to ask that those in the US, the United Kingdom, Israel, and other lands who have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people also be held accountable to world public opinion and the rule of law?"

Meanwhile, The Times of London reports that the largest survey of Muslims ever conducted shows that the war on terror has radicalized even well-educated Muslims to unprecedented levels.

Gallup's Centre for Muslim Studies in New York carried out surveys of 10,000 Muslims in ten predominantly Muslim countries. One finding was that the wealthier and better-educated the Muslim was, the more likely he was to be radicalized.

The poll also found that residents of Muslim countries share more in common with the United States in terms of spiritual and family values than they do those in with European countries.

A large number of Muslims supported the Western ideal of democratic government. Fifty per cent of radicals supported democracy, compared with 35 per cent of moderates.

Religion was found to have little to do with radicalization or antipathy towards Western culture. Muslims were condemnatory of promiscuity and a sense of moral decay. What they admired most was liberty, its democratic system, technology and freedom of speech.

The poll's researchers reported that the idea in the West that all Arab or Muslim radicals are "religious fundamentalists or the poor and hopeless" is fundamentally wrong.

"They often charge that religious fervour triggers radical and violent views," said John Esposito, a religion professor, and Dalia Mogahed, Gallup's Muslim studies director, in one analysis. "But the data say otherwise. There is no significant difference in religiosity between moderates and radicals. In fact, radicals are no more likely to attend religious services regularly than are moderates."

Mr. Esposito and Ms. Mogahed presented some of their findings in the November 2006 issue of Foreign Policy. In it they argue that if the West wants to reach the extremists and empower the Muslim moderates, "it must first recognize who it's up against."