A Majority of Oklahomans View Islam Unfavorably
This might shed light on why the Sharia’ measure passed.
A majority of Oklahomans believe Islam is a violent religion that is far removed from Christianity, the most recent Oklahoma Poll found.
The survey, taken before voters overwhelmingly approved a state question banning Islamic Shariah law from state courts, revealed that fewer than one-quarter of Oklahomans have a favorable opinion of the Muslim religion.
Fifty-eight percent said Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, and 61 percent said Muslims don’t worship the same God as Christians.
More than half agreed that Muslims should have the same rights as others to build houses of worship in local communities. However, 36 percent said local communities should have the right to prevent construction of houses of worship if they do not want them.
“I’m leery of any group that wants to kill Americans,” said poll respondent Janie Lloyd of Fort Gibson.
“Do I believe all Muslims want to kill Americans? Of course not,” said Lloyd. “But you’ve got to be vigilant on certain things. When someone says they want to kill you, you have to listen. Timothy McVeigh was an American citizen, and look what he did.”
McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
More than anything, though, Lloyd seemed frustrated.
“I want them to be American,” she said. “I want them to act like American citizens. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
Upon hearing the poll results, Luanne Butler of Tulsa said, “In a way it’s not surprising, but in a way it is disheartening to make sweeping generalizations about people called Muslim.”
Butler said there is “a lack of openness and also a pervasive element whispering (in) our ear that (Muslims) don’t have good intentions, that they want to take over, invade.”
She said the vote on State Question 755, banning the use of Shariah law in state courts, represented Oklahomans, saying, “So there. We don’t want interference from outside.”
Lloyd acknowledged that Shariah law has never entered into an Oklahoma court case and appears to have affected only one decision – a decision quickly overturned – in the entire country.
But, she said, she thinks the state question was a good idea.
“Look what’s going on in Europe,” she said. “They’re trying to dig themselves out of those people taking over.”
Muslims now make up sizable minorities in several European countries, including Germany and France. In the United Kingdom, Shariah courts can be used to settle civil disputes – technically, through arbitration – if all parties agree.
Islam is derived from the same monotheistic tradition as Judaism and Christianity. In the Quran, Islam’s holy book, Jesus Christ is described as a great messenger of God.
The majority of Oklahoma Christians, however, apparently reject the notion that the two religions have common roots. In the Oklahoma Poll sample, 83 percent of those who said they attend religious services more than once a week said Muslims worship a different God than Christians.
Three-quarters of those identifying themselves as evangelical Christians said Muslims worship a different God.
Feelings about the Muslim religion were also reflected in political affiliations and affinities. Seventy-two percent of those supporting Gov.-elect Mary Fallin said Islam promotes violence, compared with 46 percent of those who supported Jari Askins, the loser in the Nov. 2 election.
Oklahomans’ opinion of President Barack Obama also found expression in the poll questions about Islam. Fully one-third said they believe Obama is Muslim. Half said he is not.
“I don’t think he’s a Muslim,” said Marilyn Allen of Broken Arrow. She suspects Obama is “mixed up” because of his unusual childhood and “wants to please everyone,” including Muslim nations.
“I really don’t like the way he kowtows to them,” she said.
“But I’m more worried about the communist part than the Muslim part.”
Almost half the Republicans surveyed said they think Obama is a Muslim – and more than one-fifth of Democrats agreed.
Butler laughed at the notion.
“He’s not a Muslim,” she said. “He’s not anything. He’s a golfer.”
In general, would you say your opinion of the Muslim religion is:
Very favorable …………………………7%
Somewhat unfavorable …………22%
(Numbers have been rounded)
Do you think Muslims worship the same God as Christians?
Worship same God……… 25%
Don’t worship same God…..61%
Which comes closer to your view:
The Muslim religion is more likely than others to encourage violence ……..58%
The Muslim religion does not encourage violence more than others …………29%
Don’t know/refused ……..13%
Do you think President Obama is a Muslim?
Don’t know/refused…….. 16%
(Numbers have been rounded)
About the poll
SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific telephone survey of 753 likely Oklahoma voters Oct. 18-23. The poll includes 384 Democrats, 345 Republicans and 24 independents selected randomly from those who have established a frequent voting pattern.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3.57 percentage points.
The poll is sponsored by the Tulsa World.
Original Print Headline: Sooners have low opinion of Islam
Original post: A Majority of Oklahomans View Islam Unfavorably