why do many Muslims and Arabs hate the government of the United States? Do they hate the American people?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Speculation as to why Muslims and Arabs hate America: I can't give you answers to your questions, but I can tell you my experience which may give you some perspective on the issue.

I worked for about a year in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Wash., DC.

There were Saudiis there who hated the U.S.  One declared to the Americans there one day that he hated America and would kill Americans if he could.  There were others who did not hate the U.S.

The ones who hated were arrogant, self-righteous, aloof people.  The ones who did not hate were friendly, conversational, relaxed people.

I suspect the former practiced puritanical Islam and the second practiced their religion for the moral guidance that it gave to them.

I think I will make another point: The American popular culture embraces modernity and opposes tradition.  America is engaged both governmentally (such as the Iraqi war) and nongovernmentally (such as rock stars and Hollywood movies) in spreading its modernity all over the world.  There is even a big cultural "war" here in America between the forces of modernity and the forces of tradition.  The bulk of Muslims are traditional people, though it seems to me that the very ones who hate us are the ones who have abandoned much of their traditional ways and embraced much of the ways of modernity.  I may be wrong.  These are just my impressions.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would suggest that there should be some level of clarification offered in the question.  Dislike of the United States government is not something limited to individuals of Arab descent or individuals who are Muslims.  The recent rise in home grown terrorist activity would prove this. At the same time, I think that, like other groups, some Arab individuals or followers of Islam might have some fundamental challenges with policies and actions of the United States government.  There had been long simmering tension between these individuals the long standing American policy of refusing to voice active support for issues relating to land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip disputed territories.  This feeds into American support of Israel, which some of twisted to be read as against the needs of Arab individuals.  At the same time, many Arabs had felt a sense of disdain towards the United States' dependence on petroleum resources in the region.  The oil dependency of the United States has increased its economic and military presence in the region, which has caused some level of consternation amongst many who are indigenous to the region.  Finally, the devastation and cost of life in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have impacted many there on a personal level, causing further resentment towards the United States.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There can be many reasons why Muslims and Arabs would hate the government of the United States.  Some of them are valid and some are not, in my opinion.

  • Many Muslims and Arabs are said to believe that the US government is engaged in a war against Islam.  From our perspective in the US, this seems ridiculous.
  • More specifically, though, they are said to hate the US government because of the fact that it sides with Israel against the Palestinians no matter what.  This seems to me to have more basis in fact.
  • In addition, you often hear that Muslims hate the US because it is callous about causing the deaths of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This feeds into the first belief -- it makes it seem that we don't care if innocent Muslims die.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial