Americans, Pew Research Unsure what to Think about Muslims


A new Pew Poll reveals that Americans are conflicted on their acceptance of Islam, and the media is equally uncertain how to report the results. 30% have a favorable view of Islam, 38% have an unfavorable view and 32% refused to answer or volunteered that they didn't know. 35% believe Islam more likely than other religions to promote violence, while 42% disagree. 51% oppose the building of an Islamic Community Center in Lower Manhattan (34% support rights of the developer and 15% don't know) but just 25% think local communities should generally be allowed to prohibit mosques (62% say that Muslims should enjoy the same rights as other Americans, 13% weren't sure) suggesting that some oppose Cordoba House out of Islamophobia, others out of respect for Ground Zero. Feelings on Islam, were divided significantly along lines of age, partisan affiliation and education.

The responses, which suggest widely varied American opinion about Islam and Muslims left the media confused. The AP noted that a plurality of Americans didn't see Islam as any more likely to be violent than other religions, while the USA Today opened their story with the comment that Americans may not know much about Islam, "but that doesn't stop many from saying [they] don't like it." France's AFP found contradiction in the fact that support for Islam has dropped off since 2005 even as fewer see the religion as violent (actually belief in the inherent violence or nonviolence of Islam have both dropped with "don't know" gaining).
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