Britain is the fourth most highly thought of country amongst the world's Islamic youth.
That is the key finding of a report published today by the British Council, which surveyed 5000 young people in the Muslim world - in Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Over two out of every three young Muslims surveyed (67%) were mainly or very favourable when asked their opinions of the UK. The economy, advanced technology and good management were some of the qualities cited by participants as Britain's attractive attributes. It's viewed as a safe place to live with less crime and immorality than the US, plus it's seen as a successful multi-cultural society. This is despite what is described as 'perceptions of racist undercurrents'.
19% of those polled said they view the UK less favourably than they did six months before the survey was conducted, a period which takes in the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent allied bombing of Afghanistan. However 18% now view Britain more favourably over that period - but report authors stress there were wide variations on this statistic between the various nationalities polled.
Those whose view of Britain did drop following September 11 identified our close support of the United States of America as a predominant reason. Focus groups indicate America's perception of itself as a 'world policeman' is very unpopular, as well as its perceived lack of sympathy for the 'Palestinian cause'.
Read a transcript of Monday's webchat with the Chair of the British Council, Baroness Helena Kennedy, on the attitudes of Muslim youth.
The British Council
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