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23 May 2024

WEF: ‘Chasm of trust’ between Muslims and West

By Mariam Hanafy



A report released on Sunday by the World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed that there is a large chasm of trust between the West and Muslim world, based on a worldwide survey.

The report indicated that while on average 65 per cent of Muslims say they respect the West, 60 per cent feel that the West does not respect Muslims. On average, 60 per cent of Americans and Europeans agree, and the majority of Westerners feel that Muslims do not respect them in return. Notably, 84 per cent of Palestinians and 81 per cent of Egyptians feel that Muslims are disrespected by the US and Europe – the biggest majorities among all Muslim states surveyed.

On the other hand, 82 per cent of Americans believe that Muslims do not respect the West. Americans were also reported as the second biggest majority to believe that interaction, hence relations, between the Western and Muslim world are getting worse over time. The only majority bigger than Americans was Palestinians; Israelis were third in rank after US residents.

It seems the most anti-West nationalities are Palestinians and Egyptians, which is perhaps telling in the light of recent political events, namely last week’s ongoing Rafah border breach and Egypt’s sympathy with the thousands of Gazans involved. The report’s indication that most US citizens feel their own country doesn’t respect Muslims, or is respected by them, is politically significant as it could be seen as a direct reflection on US President Bush’s waning administration.

The Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue was released by WEF as a pretext to the annual meeting held in Davos, which started on Tuesday. According to the official statement on the release, “An important finding of the report is the emergence of citizenship and integration as the second most powerful shaper of the state of dialogue after international politics.”

In the report’s foreword, WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab wrote that “Trust is an essential currency of social collaboration.  While many nation states have made a great deal of progress in building institutions of trust within their borders, regrettably the level of public trust in global institutions is far from satisfactory.”