Poll: 1 in 4 Hold Anti-Muslim Views
WASHINGTON - About one in four Americans holds anti-Muslim views, such as a belief that the religion teaches violence and hatred, according to a survey an Islamic advocacy group released Monday.
The survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found a majority of Americans hold positive views of Muslims, while a substantial number have no opinion at all.
Anti-Islamic sentiment surged in this country after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by terrorists who claimed to be acting in the name of the faith. Since then, anti-Muslim views have been encouraged by a continuing string of terror attacks, including decapitations, in Iraq (news - web sites), as well as a violent attack on school children in Russia, said Omar Ahmad, chairman of the council's board.
"They have nothing to do with Islam. People claim they are doing it for Islam, but it's really in spite of Islam," Ahmad said.
The telephone survey of a random sample of 1,000 American adults found that just over one in four people somewhat or strongly agreed with a series of anti-Muslim sentiments including: the Muslim religion teaches violence and hatred (26 percent agreed); Muslims value life less than other people (27 percent agreed); and Muslims want to change the American way of life (29 percent agreed).
More than four in 10 people disagreed with the statements. In each case, nearly 30 percent said they had no opinion.
Large numbers of Americans also hold a variety of favorable views. More than six in 10, for instance, say Muslims have "family-oriented values," and more than half disagreed with the statement, "Muslims are dishonest."
About two in three said they agreed that "the people who use Islam to justify violence are misinterpreting its teachings."
The poll found that people most likely to have negative attitudes were male, white, less educated, politically conservative and living in the South.
Hoping to combat these attitudes, the council plans a "Share Ramadan" project, where it will encourage Muslims to invite others to share an evening meal during the month long event. Ramadan begins Oct. 15 or Oct. 16 with the sighting of the first new moon in the next lunar year.
The survey by Genesis Research Associates was conducted June 23 to July 2 and had a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points
On the Net:
Council on American-Islamic Relations: http://cair-net.org.
This article was taken from Yahoo News and is located at http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041004/ap_on_re_us/muslims_poll