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Political Islam, Clash of Civilizations, U.S. Dominance and Arab Support of Attacks on America: A Test of a Hierarchical Model

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 30 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2007 Pages: 723-736
Mohamed M. Mostafa; Mohaned T. Al-Hamdi
Date Published
August 2007
14 pages
This study examines two theories used to explain Arab support for the September 11 attacks on the United States: a clash of civilizations and adverse reaction to perceived American intervention and dominance in the Middle East.
The results of this survey of 805 individuals in the Arab world show little support for a clash of civilizations as the basis for a favorable reaction to the September 11 attacks on the United States. On the other hand, belief in U.S. dominance showed an inverse relationship to approval of U.S. policy toward the Middle East. The hostility toward America in the Arab world is apparently not based on long-standing hatred of American values, but rather on more recent anger stemming from U.S. policy in the region. In the minds of the Arab respondents, the September 11 attacks were primarily driven by reaction to American support of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians as well as America's disregard for the aspirations and welfare of people in the Arab world. Based on these results, the United States needs to approach regional diplomacy in a fundamentally new way. U.S. dialog with Arab representatives should attempt to determine their aspirations and policies regarding directions for the region, without attempting to manipulate and control affairs according to American and Israeli interests. Pressing the Israeli Government to dismantle Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, allowing genuinely representative Iraqi elections, and easing the visa process for Arabs to visit the United States could help repair the damage in American-Arab relations over recent years, but only if they are explained through open debate in credible and independent Arab media. A total of 805 respondents completed a mailed questionnaire circulated through a network of contacts throughout 7 Arab nations. 3 tables, 2 figures, 54 references, and appended questionnaire


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