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Posted on Thu, May 27, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

"Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think" documentary film Thursday at Michigan Theater

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

"Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think", the last film of The University of Michigan’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies’ (CMENAS) weeklong Global Islam Film Series, will be shown from 7-8 p.m. tonight, at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor.

The week started with the hysterical Muslim-American stand-up comic concert film, "Allah Made Me Funny", then delved into American perceptions of Muslims with "The Letter: An American Town and “The Somali Invasion,” and Professor Akbar Ahmed’s cross-country ethnographic study, "Journey into America."

Tonight’s film is a documentary by Gallup researchers investigating how Muslims around the world view Americans.


Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, a new documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation, explores the expertly gathered opinions of Muslims around the globe as revealed in the world’s first major opinion poll, conducted by Gallup, the preeminent polling organization. Gallup researchers began by asking the questions on every American’s mind. Why is there so much anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists and how do Muslims feel about them? What do Muslims like and dislike about the West? What do Muslim women really want? Crucial policy decisions hang on these questions. They continue to generate passionate disagreements in the public square. Yet for all the heat and controversy, the actual views of the world’s Muslims have been conspicuously missing from this debate. Now, we have the missing answers and statistics, gathered, parsed, and analyzed not by pundits but by professional researchers. As part of this groundbreaking six-year project, Gallup conducted tens of thousands of interviews with residents in 35 predominantly Muslim nations, as well as smaller populations in Europe and the USA. The broad extent of the polling has delivered findings for the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims with a plus or minus accuracy of 3%. Focused on the issues of Gender Justice, Terrorism, and Democracy--the film presents this remarkable data deftly, showing how it challenges the popular notion that Muslims and the West are on a collision course. Like the research, the film highlights a shared relationship that is based on facts - not fear.

This film series is funded through the Social Science Research Council’s Academia in the Public Sphere Grants Program. Films are free and open to the public.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her website at, her blog at, and she can be reached at