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Poll: Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims

6 September 2011 General 7 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Washington (CNN) – Ten years after 9/11, Americans are wrestling with their opinions of Muslims, a new survey found, and where Americans get their TV news is playing a role in those opinions.

Nearly half of Americans would be uncomfortable with a woman wearing a burqa, a mosque being built in their neighborhood or Muslim men praying at an airport.   Forty-one percent would be uncomfortable if a teacher at the elementary school in their community were Muslim.

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said the values of Islam are at odds with American values.

The Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution conducted the survey and issued a report, “What it Means to be American: Attitudes in an Increasingly Diverse America 10 Years after 9/11.”

“Americans are wrestling with fear, but on the other hand they’re also wrestling with acceptance,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute.

The results of the survey were announced Tuesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

One issue that seemed to divide respondents was sharia law.

Overall, 61% of respondents disagreed that Muslims want to establish sharia law in the U.S.

“2011 has been an enormously active year for this question,” Jones said. “Forty-nine bills have been introduced in 29 states to ban sharia law. We asked the same question back in February, and only 23% of Americans agreed Muslims want to establish sharia as the law of the land. That number has gone up to 30%, so still a minority, but the minority has grown.”

The numbers were also showed a correlation with where people went for their news.

Of Americans who say they trust Fox News the most for their television news, 52% believe that Muslims are trying to establish sharia law in the United States. Sixty-eight percent of Fox viewers believed the values of Islam were at odds with American values.

The report says fewer than one-third of Americans who most trust broadcast news, CNN (20%) and public television (23%) believe that Muslims are trying to establish sharia.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Dr. Muqtedar Khan, a professor of political science at the University of Delaware.  “I looked at this survey, and I’m really depressed.”

Khan, a practicing Muslim, was particularly disturbed by the attitudes toward Muslims and what he called a misunderstanding of sharia law. “Sharia is just a prop, an attempt to say, ‘we just don’t know and like Muslims.’ ”

The survey also found strong support of religious liberty and tolerance.

Eighty-eight percent of those contacted by pollsters agreed that “America was founded on the idea of religious freedom for everyone, including religious groups that are unpopular.”

One year after a Florida pastor burned a copy of the Quran, 95% of people polled said religious books should be treated with respect.

And two-thirds of those polled said there should be strict separation between church and state.

According to Jones, 2,450 Americans were reached by phone for the survey, and it had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Original post: Poll: Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims


  1. That says an awful lot about Fox News that we already knew. They spread misinformation and bigotry in equal shares. Their information cannot be trusted. Too many people listen to them and accept their lies as truth. What can we do to publicly shame these people? Or is it impossible to shame people who behave like this? Do they actually believe their own hype or do they themselves even know when they’re lying?

    Spreading fear like this should be against the law as it incites people to commit hate crimes. Where is the “Law & Order” episode showing Fox News executives getting sent to prison for inciting hate crimes by purposely lying to the public and stirring up trouble? Freedom of Speech is one thing, but there are limitations, and I think Fox News coverage crosses the line.

  2. Whew, it seems that many times when I read comments people want to attack the first amendment. I do not watch Fox news often as I do not agree with what spews from the tv speakers during the times I do watch. More to the point I dislike, even more, people wanting to limit free speech rights simply because they dislike what is being said. The people that avidly listen to Fox news already had the biases they exhibit. Fox was built for those people. Just like the people that watch MSNBC would demonstrate Liberal bias with or without the television station on the air. I do not believe these stations cause crimes I believe it gives people a place to vent and express their feelings/ideas. Sure some people do not like Muslims. Then again some people do not like Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Animists, New Agers, The Dallas Cowboys, climate change activists, climate change naysayers, blacks, whites, Asians, Indians, or whatever. All need places to state their views and vent their anger. A lot of speech is not pretty but pretty or not it needs protection. What did the flag rippers and stompers from the Islamic Thinkers Society yell when they were shredding and stomping the American flag? “We can do this because of a flaw in American law” That was no flaw, it is their right to disrespect that flag. That right has been bought and paid for by generations of Americans who have given their health, limbs, life and blood fighting under that flag to guarantee a right that the ignorant consider a flaw.

  3. There are non-Muslims who have been sentenced to death for comments they have made about Islam or Mohammad based on shariah law. I find it interesting that someone would want to limit free speech about Islam in America when the Constitution of the US guarantees free speech. Yet we are to believe that shariah is no threat to liberty and freedom in the US. Under American law people can express any opinion they want about Islam, Christianity or any other religion without fear of being sentenced to death for their opinion.It is irrelevant whether a group is upset by an expressed opinion.

    BTW- Its not just Foxnews but also Muslims who are speaking out about the dangers of Shariah law.

    American Muslims Speak Out Against Enforcement of Shariah Law in the US

  4. Hera, That is a great article you linked to. It would be nice if the moderators of this forum would simply show the article I would like to see it commented on within this venue.

  5. Hera

    I agree. Shariah law wasn’t even created by the prophet or was in the Quran. It was created by his followers after his death to “maintain stability” well we all know how that turned out.

    Shariah isn’t exactly stable itself, and most Muslims either don’t know what it is, or protest it. Why? Look at the Middle East. The king of Saudi, who I personally think is a scum bag, supports Shariah which oppresses women and men, he does it cause he’s corrupt and wants money for his little oil business. Same thing with Assad and the rest of the nutty leaders out there. Sad to see that the sane Muslims aren’t in charge. Curse the 5th Caliph that probably started this nonsense.

  6. Newsflash : most people don’t like Americans, who are widely known for their ignorance, stupidity and support for terrorism.

  7. […] to see Islam – and sharia – as the ultimate thing to fear.  According to a 2011 survey, over 30% of Americans believe that Muslims want to establish sharia law as the law of the land, including […]

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