In collaboration with Georgetown University, the WEF – a gathering of over 2,500 business and political leaders in Davos - came out with 'Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue'.
It is first of its kind report on how Muslim and Western societies perceive and relate to each other at the political, social, economic and cultural levels.
Among both Muslim majority and non-Muslim majority nations, the proportion which thinks that the ‘other side’ is committed to better relations rarely rises above 30 per cent, said the report.
Notwithstanding the prevalent sense of scepticism, majority of residents in nations around the world say that better interaction between the Muslim and Western worlds is important to them.
"Over the course of 2008, the Community of Islam and the West Dialogue will invite leaders from various walks of life to engage in a concerted dialogue and debate of the most important issues, in particular the area of citizenship and integration," said Prof Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF, in the report.
The report features a Gallup Muslim-West Dialogue Index, which is a ranking of countries based on citizens' degree of optimism about the state of relations between the West and the Muslim world.
The report also presents an analysis of the portrayal of Islam and the West in newspapers and television across 24 countries by Media Tenor; and a survey by Georgetown University of international, national and local efforts to improve Muslim-West relations.
An important finding of the report is the emergence of citizenship and integration as the second most powerful shaper of the state of dialogue after international politics.
Growing Muslim minorities committed to active and full citizenship, particularly in Europe, are increasingly finding a voice in the public sphere, it said.
Governments committed to ideals of equality and recognition, but eager to maintain majority support and national cohesion, are seeking to engage Muslim groups in structured dialogue; with mixed results.
Greater interaction with the Muslim world is actually seen as a threat by 60 per cent of the citizens in many European countries but not in America or Israel, the report said.
"As an annual global reference on the state of West and Islam dialogue, the report will elevate the visibility of dialogue activities around the world and strengthen efforts to advance greater understanding and cooperation at a critical juncture in history," remarked its lead author, John J DeGioia, President of Georgetown University.
Earlier, addressing the meeting, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said "the focus of our war against terrorism must be the elimination of sanctuaries where terrorists hide and recuperate the war can only be won if local populations are empowered to confront it," he said while cautioning against the ‘short-sighted policy for reckless pursuit of misperceived interests’.