March 24th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: CNN's Soledad O'Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. Soledad O'Brien Reports "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door", airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. E.T. April 2 on CNN.
By Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Would you be "OK" with a mosque in your community?
According to a new national poll, most Americans say yes, they would.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday found that 69%of Americans would be "OK" with a mosque in their area while 28% would not.
But there are big differences depending on where you live. Half of rural Southerners say they disapprove of a mosque in their neighborhood, while 42 % say they would be "OK" with it.
That rises to roughly three-quarters among those who live in cities and suburbs.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, anti-mosque activity across the country, ranging from vandalism to lawsuits, has occurred in 21 states over the past five years.
Positive views of Muslim Americans are on the rise since 2002, according to the new poll, which found 46% of all Americans have a favorable view of American Muslims today, and 26% say they have an unfavorable view.
"Overall, positive views of American Muslims have risen since 2002, when memories of 9/11 were still fresh in most Americans' minds," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2002, as the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached, only 39 percent of all Americans said they had a favorable view of Muslims."
Americans in the South and rural communities are far less likely to have a favorable view of American Muslims, with just 32% saying they hold such views.
Thirty seven percent of rural Southerners say they don't know enough to have an opinion.
When it comes to attitudes towards the Muslim faith itself, however, American opinions haven't changed much.
"In 2002, 28 percent of all Americans had a favorable view of Islam and 33 percent feel that way today," Holland says.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 11-13, with 1,023 people questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.