Friday, August 11, 2006

How Americans view American Muslims.

Here's some interesting figures illustrating what we were saying yesterday about the confusion between Islam and Islamist extremists in America.negative feelings or prejudices against people of the Muslim faith the fact that the only Arabs and/or Muslims that most Americans are exposed to are the ones who either blow themselves up, threaten to wipe out Israel or directly threatens America of some apocalyptic catastrophe.
A new Gallup/USA Today poll finds that:
  • 34% of Americans believe that Muslims do back al-Qaeda
  • 22%, say they would not like to have a Muslim as a neighbor
  • only 49% actually believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the United States.
  • 39% advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D.
  • 39% also admit that they do hold some "prejudice" against Muslims.
  • 44% percent say their religious views are too "extreme."

And a lot of Muslims are literally depressed about it:
"Muslims have the same anxieties and anguish about terrorism as everyone else in the U.S. At the same time, they're being blamed for it. They're carrying a double burden," says psychologist Mona Amer of Yale University School of Medicine. (USA Today)
The findings, however, also shows that "in every case, Americans who actually know any Muslims are more sympathethic."
  • While 24 % of those who know a Muslim favored a special ID for Muslims; 50% who do not know someone of that faith favored the special ID.
  • 10% of those who know a Muslim said they would not want a Muslim as a neighbor, compared to 31% of those who did not know one.
As we said yesterday, those "negative feelings or prejudices against people of the Muslim faith" stem from the fact that the only Arabs and/or Muslims that most Americans are exposed to are the ones who either blow themselves up, threaten to wipe out Israel or directly threatens America of some apocalyptic catastrophe.
That obviously reinforces Americans' identification with Israel. The lack of exposure to moderate Muslims is the main difference with Europe which has large Muslim communities and is dealing with moderate Muslims on an everyday basis.
(which obviously does not mean there are no extremists among them or that there are no anti-Muslim feelings in Europe).

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