As a follow-up to his earlier translation, our Russian correspondent Russkiy sends this overview of Arab opinion, based on his analysis of Arabic-language reader comments at the BBC website:
I have been reading comments at BBC Arabic for a while and the picture is very clear. The views of the Arabs based on subjects that come up can be divided into:
1. Concerns about standards of living 2. Personal security 3. Feeling of oppression, etc. on one hand, and social issues such as female identity, role of religion in politics, and Israel, on the other
If we just concentrate on #1 and #2, than one can imagine that the Arab street overwhelmingly, really really wants democracy, and that West is the one imposing the dictators on them. So the liberals that may read or hear about such views would self-flagellate over the Western world’s hand in the oppression of Arabs by their leaders.
If we read into #3, then it is clear that overwhelmingly:
- The Arabs believe that the role of a woman as it is right now in Islam and the Middle East is just fine;
- That polygamy would be great to solve many social problems;
- That Islamic banking, if used, would have prevented economic crises;
- That Israel according to Shia is behind the Sunnis, and according to Sunnis behind Shia (in fact, most attribute Al Qaeda to America and Israel);
- That Christian minority in Egypt are treated just fine;
- That Europeans unjustly hate Muslims; and
- That Muslims are actually much better than Christians because they recognise Jesus as one of the prophets.
I would also add that if Arab countries were ruled democratically, then there would be no state of Israel according to opinions of majority of commenters.
Maybe 10% of commenters state alternative views to the above described, and within this number 10% are Christian Arabs, so the actual numbers of Muslim Arabs who have divergent views to those above would be less than 5%.