Anti-Western sentiment

Anti-Western sentiment refers to broad opposition or hostility to the people, culture, or policies of the Western World. In many modern cases the United States and the United Kingdom are the subject of discussion or hostility, though for the most part historically it was fueled by anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. Anti-Western sentiment occurs in many countries, even from the West itself especially European countries. Broad anti-Western sentiment also exists in the Muslim world, for some of whom the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan are seen as US-led Western campaigns that resemble the medieval Christian Crusades against Muslims. Another factor is the ongoing support by some Western governments—notably the United States—for Israel.


Within the West, some European citizens, or politicians, as well as some Muslim communities are hostile to the society they live in, and a few Muslim communities are sympathetic to terrorism in the West.

In Amsterdam's secondary schools, about half the Moroccan students do not identify with the Netherlands: they see their identity as 'Muslim', and regularly express anti-Western views but, nevertheless, do not want to return to their historical homeland.[1]

An ICM opinion poll indicates that a fifth of the British Muslims have sympathy with the 'feelings and motives' of the suicide bombers who attacked London on 7 July 2005. Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society. 2 out of 5 British Muslims even want sharia law introduced into parts of the country. These feelings are often perpetuated by a youth population that has never lived anywhere else but the United Kingdom.[2]


Anti-Western sentiment in China has been increasing since the early 1990s, particularly amongst the Chinese youth.[3] Notable incidents which have resulted in a significant anti-Western backlash have included the 1999 NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade,[4] the 2008 demonstrations during the Olympic torch relay[5] and alleged Western media bias,[6] especially in relation to the March 2008 Tibet riots.[7] Whilst available public opinion polls show that the Chinese hold generally favourable views towards the United States,[8] there remains suspicion over the West's motives towards China[8] stemming largely from historical experiences and specifically the 'century of humiliation'.[9] These suspicions have been increased by the Communist Party's "Patriotic Education Campaign".[10]


Aside from previous Cold War tensions, Russia has often had tenuous relations with the West, especially under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. However, the strongest anti-Western sentiment lies with ultra-nationalist politicians, including Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Pro-Russian activists in the former Soviet Union frequently equate the West with homosexuality and the gay agenda, both of which are extremely unpopular there.[11]


Africa is often the posterchild for post-colonial societal collapse where retreating empires left behind nations unable to maintain their current trajectory of development or even their current state of affairs. Many conflicts currently playing out in Africa, similar to the Middle East, are often blamed on France, The United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, and Germany for arbitrary borders drawn with little regard to the ethnicity, tribal affiliation, and religions of the original inhabitants.

See also


  1. City of Amsterdam policy document, February 2006. Wij Amsterdammers II: investeren in mensen en grenzen.
  2. Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite (2006-02-19). Poll reveals 40pc of Muslims want sharia law in UK. The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  3. "Anti-western sentiment flourishes in China". ABC. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 08/06/2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. Peter Hays Gries (July 2001). "Tears of Rage: Chinese Nationalist Reactions to the Belgrade Embassy Bombing". The China Journal. Canberra, Australia: Contemporary China Center, Australian National University. 46 (46): 25–43. doi:10.2307/3182306. ISSN 1324-9347. OCLC 41170782.
  5. "Protests against 'Tibet independence' erupt in cities". China Daily. 2008-04-19. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  6. "Looking past Western media bias against China". China Daily. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 07/06/2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. Bristow, Michael (25 March 2008). "China criticises Western media". BBC News. Retrieved 07/06/2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. 1 2 "Hope and Fear: Full report of C-100's Survey on American and Chinese Attitudes Toward Each Other" (PDF). Committee of 100 with assistance from Zogby International and Horizon Research Consultancy Group. 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  9. Peter Ford (2008-04-17). "Chinese vent anti-Western fury online". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 08/06/2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. Zhao, Suisheng: "A State-led Nationalism: The Patriotic Education Campaign in Post- Tiananmen China", Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3. 1998. pp. 287–302
  11. "Anne Applebaum: Russia's anti-Western ideology has global consequences".
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