New Book on Muslim Anger at America by PIPA’s Steven Kull

New Book on Muslim Anger at America by PIPA’s Steven Kull

April 26, 2011

Order Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America by Steven Kull from the Brookings Institution Press

A new book, Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America by Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, has been released by the Brookings Institution Press.

Though it has been nearly a decade since the attacks of September 11, the threat of terrorism from the Muslim world remains real and many Americans question why some Muslims have such hostility toward the United States. What’s more, many wonder whether the current regime changes and upheaval may unleash an even more active aggression against the U.S. and its citizens.

Steven Kull has sought to understand more deeply how Muslims see America. How widespread is hostility toward the United States in the Muslim world? And what are its roots? How much support is there for radical groups that attack Americans and why?

The book is based on focus groups Kull conducted with representative samples in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Jordan, Iran, and Indonesia; numerous in-depth; surveys in eleven majority-Muslim nations; and a comprehensive analysis of data from such organizations as Gallup, World Values Survey, Pew, and the Arab Barometer.

Feeling Betrayed digs below the surface of Muslim anger toward America. Kull’s analysis reveals the perceived underlying narrative: America oppresses–and at a deeper level, betrays–the Muslim people by coercively dominating the Muslim world and seeking to undermine Islam, in contradiction with its stated values of sovereign equality, international law, democracy, and religious tolerance.

With the subtlety of a psychologist, Kull shows how this anger is fed by an “inner clash of civilizations,” between Muslims’ desire to connect with America and all it represents, and their fear that America seeks to overwhelm and destroy their traditional Islamic culture.

Kull maps out the implications of these findings for U.S. foreign policy, showing how many U.S. actions antagonize the larger Muslim population and help al Qaeda by improving their capacity for recruitment. He specifies steps that can mitigate Muslim hostility and draw on some of the shared values that may support more respectful and, possibly, even amicable Muslim-American relations.

Kull comments, “A premise of this book is that the problem of terrorism does not simply lie in the small number of people who join terrorist organizations. Rather, the existence of terrorist organizations is a symptom of a tension in the larger society that finds a particularly virulent expression in certain individuals. The hostility toward the United States in the broader society plays a critical role in sustaining terrorist groups, even if most disapprove of those groups’ tactics. The essential ‘problem,’ then, is one of America’s relationship with the society as a whole.”


“Steven Kull’s Feeling Betrayed breaks new ground and is a must–read for academics and policymakers. It is an in-depth study of Muslim attitudes toward the United States. The findings culled from numerous public opinion polls and focus groups give an accurate picture of the concerns, hopes, and political and ideological inclinations of citizens in Muslim majority countries, which I have used during my work for the government and since.”
–Emile Nakhleh, former director, CIA Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, and author of A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America’s Relations with the Muslim World

“The democratic revolution throughout the Middle East compels the Obama administration to rethink U.S. policy to meet a profoundly changed region. Steven Kull’s excellent Feeling Betrayed provides the data needed to make informed policy. The book is written by the voices of millions of Arabs. We would be wise to heed their message.”
–Wendy Chamberlin, president of the Middle East Institute, former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan

“I highly recommend this thoughtful and well-informed book. Steven Kull adds a unique perspective as a leading scholar of public opinion with a global view that helps place Muslim anger with America in a broader perspective.”
–Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland

If you need more information or would like to schedule an interview please contact: Melissa McConnell, Publicity Manager, (202) 536-3611,
Natalie Fullenkamp, Publicity Assistant, (202) 536-3607,

Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America


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