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Most Muslims in favour of globalisation, says survey

Last updated on: August 30, 2008 15:40 IST

Contrary to the common assumption that Muslims view globalisation as a threat to their society, a new poll has revealed that majority of people adhering to the Islamic faith view the phenomenon positively.

Conducted in seven nations with predominantly Muslim populations in different regions of the world, the poll found 63 per cent of the people favouring globalisation for their countries, while only 25 per cent viewing it as bad.

The survey was conducted in Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Indonesia, and the Palestinian Territories, plus the Muslim population of Nigeria.

Asked about globalisation, especially the increasing interlinking of economies, majorities in six of the seven nations polled said that it is mostly good for their countries.

Approval is highest among Egyptian and Nigerian Muslims, 79 and 78 per cent of whom respectively, viewed globalisation as a 'good phenomenon'.

Besides 63 per cent of Azerbaijanis, 61 per cent of both Iranians and Indonesians, and 58 per cent of Palestinians saw globalisation as 'mostly good'.

While support in Turkey did not assume a majority, 39 per cent still termed globalisation as 'mostly good'.

The poll of 5,216 respondents was conducted by, a collaborative research project involving research centres from around the world, managed at the University of Maryland in the US.

"These findings run counter to the widespread assumption that people in the Muslim world are anxious and hostile about the prospect of integration into the global economy," said Steven Kull, director of

The poll found that most respondents also view international trade as good for their countries and themselves. At the same time, many are concerned about trade's effects on workers and environment.

However, most expressed interest in addressing these effects, not through protectionism but through a global cooperative effort integrating labour and environmental standards into agreements on international trade.

Asked whether international trade is good or bad for their country's economy, majorities in the five of six nations polled said it is good.

An average 64 per cent thought international trade is good for their country's economy, while 29 per cent said it is not. Besides, majorities in every population polled also believed that trade is good for consumers.

Nigerian Muslims led the way, with 77 per cent opining that trade benefited consumers, followed by Azerbaijanis (67 per cent), Turks (62 per cent), Indonesians (59 per cent), Palestinians (57 per cent), and Egyptians (54 per cent).

On the other hand, Egyptians and Indonesians mostly saw trade as hurting consumers, with only 46 and 32 per cent respectively saying the contrary.

Most also believed international trade was good for their own standard of living -- on average 56 per cent held this view, while 30 per cent said their standard of living was hurt
by trade. The exception was again Egypt, where 56 per cent said it was bad for their standard of living.

The reservations expressed by Egyptians and Nigerian Muslims might be related to economic conditions in their countries, where booms in some sectors, often associated with greater trade, have been matched with growing inequality, the authors say.

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