Muslim Attitudes Toward the UN

  • Mujtaba Ali Isani


This chapter analyzes Muslim attitudes toward the main global intergovernmental organization, the United Nations. The book derives its hypotheses here using a framework provided by the existing literature on the social legitimacy of international organizations. The chapter argues that Muslim citizens not only see the UN as being under US rule but that their anti-Americanism also serves as a heuristic in forming attitudes toward the UN. To test the main hypothesis, the chapter uses a self-administered survey from Egypt, as this dataset includes all necessary variables. In addition, using WPOP/PIPA data, the chapter finds that citizens in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia, and the Palestinian Territories show mixed support when it comes to UN humanitarian aid or its peacekeeping operations, but consistently negative opinions when it comes to the UN’s role in resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.


Attitudes Muslim United Nations United States Heuristic 


  1. Abelson, R. P., & Levi, A. (1985). Decision making and decision theory. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (pp. 231–309). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  2. Barnett, M., & Finnemore, M. (2004). Rules for the world: International organizations in global politics. Ithaca, NJ: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bartels, L. M. (1996). Uninformed votes: Information effects in presidential elections. American Journal of Political Science, 40(1), 194–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berelson, B. R., Lazarsfeld, P. F., & McPhee, W. N. (1954). Voting: A study of opinion formation in a presidential election. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, L. (2014). Foreign policies or culture. Journal of Peace Research, 51(6), 782–796.Google Scholar
  6. Blaydes, L., & Linzer, D. A. (2012). Elite competition, religiosity, and anti-Americanism in the Islamic world. American Political Science Review, 106(2), 225–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boomgaarden, H. G., & Freire, A. (2009). Religion and Euroscepticism: Direct, indirect or no effects? West European Politics, 32(6), 1240–1265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boomgaarden, H. G., Schuck, A., Elenbaas, M., & De Vreese, C. H. (2011). Mapping EU attitudes: Conceptual and empirical dimensions of Euroscepticism and EU support. European Union Politics, 12(2), 241–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carey, S. (2012). Undivided loyalties. European Union Politics, 3(4), 387–413.Google Scholar
  10. Carpini, M. X. D., & Ketter, S. (1996). What Americans know about politics and why it matters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Chiozza, G. (2006). Disaggregating anti-Americanism: An analysis of individual attitude. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  12. Dellmuth, L. M., & Tallberg, J. (2015). The social legitimacy of international organisations: Interest representation, institutional performance, and confidence extrapolation in the United Nations. Review of International Studies, 41(3), 451–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Vries, C. E., & Edwards, E. E. (2009). Taking Europe to its extremes: Extremist parties and public Euroscepticism. Party Politics, 15(1), 5–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Downs, A. (1957). An economic theory of political action in a democracy. Journal of Political Economy, 65(2), 135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ecker-Ehrhardt, M. (2012). Cosmopolitan politicization: How perceptions of interdependence foster citizens’ expectations in international institutions. European Journal of International Relations, 18(3), 481–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Furia, P. A., & Lucas, R. E. (2008). Arab Muslim attitudes toward the West: Cultural, social, and political explanations. International Interactions, 34(2), 186–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harteveld, E., van der Meer, T., & De Vries, C. E. (2013). In Europe we trust? Exploring three logics of trust in the European Union. European Union Politics, 14(4), 542–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Isani, M., & Silverman, D. (2016). Foreign policy attitudes toward Islamic actors: An experimental approach. Political Research Quarterly, 69(3), 571–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Isani, M., & Schlipphak, B. (2017). In the EU we trust: European Muslim attitudes toward the European Union. European Union Politics, 18(4), 658–677.Google Scholar
  20. Jamal, A. A. (2012). Of empires and citizens: Pro-American democracy or no democracy at all? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  21. John, W. P. (1982). Contingent decision behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 92(2), 382–402.Google Scholar
  22. Johnson, T. (2011). Guilt by association: The link between states’ influence and the legitimacy of intergovernmental organizations. The Review of International Organizations, 6(1), 57–84.Google Scholar
  23. Junne, G. C. A. (2001). International organizations in a period of globalization: New (problems of) legitimacy. In J. M. Coicard & V. A. Heiskanen (Eds.), The legitimacy of international organizations (pp. 189–220). New York and Tokyo: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1972). Subjective probability: A judgment of representativeness. Cognitive Psychology, 3(3), 430–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kinder, D. R. (1998). Communication and opinion. Annual Review of Political Science, 1(1), 167–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kuklinski, J. H., & Quirk, P. J. (2000). Reconsidering the rational public: Cognition, heuristics, and mass opinion. In A. Lupia, M. D. McCubbins, & S. L. Popkin (Eds.), Elements of reason: Cognition, choice, and the bounds of rationality (pp. 153–182). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lau, R. R., & Redlawsk, D. P. (1997). Voting correctly. American Political Science Review, 91(3), 585–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lau, R. R., & Redlawsk, D. P. (2001). Advantages and disadvantages of cognitive heuristics in political decision-making. American Journal of Political Science, 45, 951–971.Google Scholar
  29. Lavine, H. (2002). Online versus memory-based process models of political evaluation. In K. Monroe (Ed.), Political psychology (pp. 225–274). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  30. Lodge, M., McGraw, K. M., & Stroh, P. (1989). An impression-driven model of candidate evaluation. American Political Science Review, 83(2), 399–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lodge, M., Steenbergen, M. R., & Brau, S. (1995). The responsive voter: Campaign information and the dynamics of candidate evaluation. American Political Science Review, 89(2), 309–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lupia, A. (1994). Shortcuts versus encyclopedias: Information and voting behavior in California insurance reform elections. American Political Science Review, 88(1), 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mansfield, E. D., & Mutz, D. C. (2009). Support for free trade: Self-interest, sociotropic politics, and out-group anxiety. International Organization, 63(3), 425–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McLaren, L. M. (2002). Public support for the European Union: Cost/benefit analysis or perceived cultural threat? The Journal of Politics, 64(2), 551–566.Google Scholar
  35. Moravcsik, A. (2004). Is there a ‘democratic deficit’ in world politics? A framework for analysis. Government and Opposition, 39(2), 336–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pew Research Center. (2013). Pew global attitudes project. Accessed 15 Dec 2016.
  37. Program in International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). (2008). World public opinion data (WPOP) Muslim UN questionnaire. Accessed 1 Dec 2015.
  38. Rogowski, J. C. (2014). Electoral choice, ideological conflict, and political participation. American Journal of Political Science, 58(2), 479–494.Google Scholar
  39. Scheve, K. F., & Slaughter, M. J. (2001). What determines individual trade-policy preferences? Journal of International Economics, 54(2), 267–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schlipphak, B. (2013). Action and attitudes matter: International public opinion towards the European Union. European Union Politics, 14(4), 590–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schoen, H. (2007). Personality traits and foreign policy attitudes in German public opinion. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 51(3), 408–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Steenbergen, M. R., Edwards, E. E., & De Vries, C. E. (2007). Who’s cueing whom? Mass-elite linkages and the future of European integration. European Union Politics, 8(1), 13–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Taber, C. S. (2003). Information processing and public opinion. In D. O. Sears, L. Huddy, & R. Jervis (Eds.), Oxford handbook of political psychology (pp. 433–476). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Todorov, A., Mandisodza, A. N., Goren, A., & Hall, C. C. (2005). Inferences of competence from faces predict election outcomes. Science, 308(5728), 1623–1626.Google Scholar
  45. Williams, R. (2010). Fitting heterogeneous choice models with oglm. Stata Journal, 10(4), 540–567.Google Scholar
  46. Zaller, J. (1992). The nature and origins of mass opinion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mujtaba Ali Isani
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of MuensterMuensterGermany

Personalised recommendations