The media is widely reporting on a new book authored by an academic supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood suggesting that majority of the world’s Muslims opposed the 911 attacks and support some form of democracy. According to a BBC report:
The largest survey to date of Muslims worldwide suggests the vast majority want Western democracy and freedoms, but do not want them to be imposed. The poll by Gallup of more than 50,000 Muslims in 35 nations found most wanted the West to instead focus on changing its negative view of Muslims and Islam. The huge survey began following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US. The overwhelming majority of those asked condemned them and subsequent attacks, citing religious reasons. The poll, which claims to represent the views of 90% the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, is to be published next month as part of a book entitled Who Speaks For Islam? What A Billion Muslims Really Think.
The report goes on to cite author John Esposito, a Georgetown University academic, who comments on the survey’s results:
But one of the book’s authors, John Esposito, says the survey’s results suggest Muslims – ironically even many of the 7% classing themselves as “radical” – in fact admire the West for its democracy and freedoms. However, they do not want such things imposed on them. “Muslims want self-determination, but not an American-imposed and defined democracy. They don’t want secularism or theocracy,” said the professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington. “What the majority wants is democracy with religious values.” Mr Esposito said “radical” Muslims believed in democracy even more than many of the moderate Muslims questioned. “The radicals are better educated, have better jobs, and are more hopeful with regard to the future than mainstream Muslims,” he added. “But they’re more cynical about whether they’ll ever get it.”
There are reasons to question the objectivity of the persons who worked on the project. Dr. Esposito himself has served on the advisory board of Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas-linked organizations such as the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K, enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association for Studies and Research in the U.S,. and has defended global Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Youssef Qaradawi. Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito. Co-author Dalia Mogahed is the executive director of Muslim studies for the Gallup Organization. She was identified in 2003 as the Outreach Coordinator for the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh (ICP), an organization which preliminary research indicates may have a relationship with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, there are also indications that ICP is under scrutiny by federal authorities. The ICP cofounder recently lost a DOE security clearance in a case still under investigation and the ICP Imam will probably be deported on immigration violations. Finally, Ahmed Younis is the Senior Consultant for Gallup and a Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Mr. Younis was previously a National Director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a U.S. organization also linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Conclusions about the book itself will have to wait for its publication but it should be noted that individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood often profess support for democracy but it is not clear that what is meant is anything than more than the ability to elect an Islamist government. In addition, the Brotherhood and its supporters often suggest that Muslims are angry about U.S. foreign policy neglecting, not surprisingly, that it is the rhetoric of these very same entities that play a major role in fomenting such anger.