A recent poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org found that people in Muslim countries in many respects have both a higher impression of and greater expectations for the United Nations than one might instinctively assume.

Asked about a number of options for giving the United Nations greater powers, nearly all receive strong support. Publics in all nations polled favor the UN Security Council having its own standing peacekeeping force (on average 64%), having the authority to go into countries to investigate human rights violations (average 63%), and having the right to authorize military force to stop a country from supporting terrorist groups (average 76%), or to prevent severe human rights violations such as genocide (average 77%)…

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Publics in five out of the six nations asked favor giving the United Nations the power to regulate the international arms trade (average 59%) and favor the UN Security Council having the right to authorize military force to prevent a country that does not have nuclear weapons from acquiring them (average 63%), to prevent a country that does not have nuclear weapons from producing nuclear fuel (average 57%), and to restore by force a democratic government that has been overthrown (average 57%).

Further, publics in all seven nations asked endorse the controversial view that the UN has a ‘responsibility to protect’ populations from severe human rights violations, “even against the will of their own government” (on average 64%). When Muslim publics are asked “Would you like to see the UN do more, do less or do about the same as it has been doing to promote human rights principles?” majorities in six out of seven publics want the UN to do more (on average 63%).

The one area where populations of Muslim nations remain skeptical, as might be suspected, is in their views of the United States’ relationship with the UN, which they view as one of hegemony, if not outright dominance.

Still, the fact that many Muslim voices accord with popular opinion here in the United States is surely one that the UN can use to its best advantage.

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