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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
US image drops among Muslims
US troops restrain a man in Iraq
Many Muslims resent the US military presence in Iraq
Hostility towards the US has reached "shocking" levels in the Muslim world, according to a report released in Washington.

A panel of experts chosen by the Bush administration found that good will towards America had plummeted in the past year, from Jordan to Indonesia.

It called for more money to be spent on promoting US policies, and made specific recommendations such as recruiting more Arabic-speaking diplomats.

US IMAGE IN DECLINE
In March 2003 more than two thirds of Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan saw the US as a greater threat than Iraq
15% of Indonesians view the US favourably, down from 61% in 2002
15% of Turks view the US favourably, down from 52% in 2000
3% of Spaniards have a very favourable view of US, 49% have a very unfavourable view
Only 2% of British Muslims agree with the statement that "the US supports democracy around the world"
Source: The Advisory group for Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World
The BBC's state department correspondent, Jon Leyne, says the findings only confirm earlier reports but are significant in that they were commissioned this time by the US administration.

One member of the panel, John Zogby, said America's standing in the Muslim and Arab world could not get any worse than it was today.

The report's authors stressed that they were not addressing US policies per se but their presentation, arguing that the US was often "not even present for the debate" with the Muslim world.

At the same time, the report, which was compiled by 13 experts including several Arabs and Muslims, warned against adopting propaganda devices.

Action plan

Entitled "Changing Minds, Winning Peace", the report finds that 15% of Indonesians now view the US favourably - down from 61% in 2002.

In the spring of 2003, only 1% of Jordanians took a favourable view of the US compared with 25% in the summer of 2002.

The report calls for more investment in "public diplomacy" and it urges the state department to recruit 300 fluent Arabic speakers within two years, and another 300 by 2008.

Scholarships for Muslims should also be boosted, it adds, and more money put into US radio broadcasts to the Arabic world as well as the translation of educational texts into local languages.

The report acknowledges that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and the situation in Iraq are impeding good relations.

"Surveys indicate that much of the resentment toward America stems from real conflicts and displeasure with policies, including those involving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Iraq," the US report says.


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