Muslims outside the United States who use the Internet are more likely to have a favorable opinion of Western popular culture than those who don’t go online, the Pew Research Center said Friday.
Crunching the numbers of its recent wide-ranging survey of Muslims in 39 countries, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found a median of 18 percent of respondents use the Internet at home, work or school.
Internet use varied widely, however, between the African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern nations surveyed -- from two percent in Afghanistan to 59 percent in Kosovo.
Focusing on 25 countries with enough Muslims using the Internet to allow a detailed analysis, Pew found that Muslims who go online are more inclined to like Western movies, music and television.
“They are (also) somewhat less inclined to say that Western entertainment is harming morality in their country,” said Pew, which posted its analysis on its www.pewforum.org website.
That remained the case even when such factors as age, education and gender were taken into account, the pollsters said.
The difference was especially marked in countries like Kyrgyzstan, Senegal, Russia and Indonesia, where Internet users were at least 30 percentage points more like to have a positive view of Western entertainment.
Muslims online tended to be younger and better educated than those who don't use the Internet, and men slightly outnumbered women.
Internet use did not appear to make much difference in Muslims’ interpretations of their faith, although those who are online were “somewhat more likely” to see things in common between Islam and Christianity, Pew said.
Poll analysis: Online Muslims more open to Western culture