Poll: Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims
A new survey finds many Americans are uncomfortable with Muslims.
September 6th, 2011
03:29 PM ET

Poll: Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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 conducted the survey and issued a report in conjunction with the Brookings Institution, "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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Belief • Islam • Sharia • United States

soundoff (1,019 Responses)
  1. MikeC

    How is being a muslim not contradicting the USA. In this country we have seperation of church and state. So your religion is equal to the country. But with Muslims its islam first everything else second. So if tomorrow morning the extremist view became the norm this country would be at war. Non muslims are infidels just remember that.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  2. USandCDN

    I wonder how the civilized world would view Christianity if the Bible taught the same type of hatred, violence, intolerance and bigotry that the koran teaches? If it did, Christianity and modern civilization would not co-exist in the same land. This is why muslims and their teachings will never be tolerated here and we will never let them amount to anything.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • AGuest9

      Carefully re-read the old testament. Hatred, violence, intolerance and bigotry are not only tolerated by Yahweh, they are exhibited by him.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • AGuest9

      Again, trying to shoe-horn bronze age beliefs into the 21st century isn't working out well. Attacking your neighbor's kingdom because you don't like him is no longer encouraged (unless your neighbor is a terrorist, perhaps.) However, killing your children because they disobey you will get you serious jail time.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Are you saying that Christians are NOT hateful, violent, intolerant or bigoted?

      Have you read the responses on this board? Even just the ones to this article?

      September 7, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • sumday

      The difference is Christianity came out of the dark ages about a century ago, Islam still embraces the dark ages. When was the last time you saw a Christian kill a person bc they insulted Christ or bc someone refused to believe in it? How about the last time you heard about someone being killed bc they insulted Mohammad or didn't accept Islam? Christianity had some dark times (although there is nothing in the bible that supported those dark times, unlike the quran that does support such things), but those are in the past lets compare current to current not try and compare what Islam is doing NOW to what Christianity did 100yrs ago.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  3. ic thetruth

    Friday is coming soon (March 21) and it will be the first Good Friday since the Pope authorised wider use of the old Latin missal. That missal speaks of the “blindness” of the Jews and asks God to “remove the veil from their hearts.” The new wording says “Let us also pray for the Jews. So that God our Lord enlightens their hearts so that they recognize Jesus Christ savior of all men.” It also asks God that “all Israel be saved.” this is the prayer of The holy pope on the good friday and this is the link for the whole article on reuters http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2008/02/06/popes-prayer-change-disappoints-jews-some-traditionalist-catholics/

    September 7, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Muhammad and the pope come out of the same woodwork!

      Both use religion as a smoke screen for their malice. Both are/were greedy for honor, power and riches.

      Judas Iscariot was the first pope.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Muneef


      The First one was sent by GOD to teach the Religion of GOD...while the Second one was sent by man for the Religion of man...

      September 7, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  4. ytuque

    The prophet of islam was a murderer, rapist, robber, polygamist, slave owner, pedophile and a wife beater. A quick read through any biography of Mohammad will lead an open minded person to the conclusion that such a person could not create a religion compatible with western civilization.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      You are right!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • Abc

      Those bioragphies you are reading, let me guess they are witten by CNN, or by Ytuque??? plz do your homework before making silly comments.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  5. ic thetruth

    oh come on ,, every religion has it s own bla bla bla , but i think that ur interpretation must be from osama terrorist bin laden book ...and do i need to remind u that in the holy torah it s written some far strange things like in Baba Mezia 59b. A rabbi debates God and defeats Him. God admits the rabbi won the debate. Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep. like for bloody sake the torah even give a name to nn jewish people "Goyim" im sure i heard that name in lord of the rings ,,, and com onnnnn if the chosen people are on relgion what happens to muslims and christians wich are more related bcoz of Christ ,,,,,so i think all religions should do some updating to it s content like the vatican assembly in 1984 ,,,,

    September 7, 2011 at 7:48 am |
  6. Muneef

    Deficit and Continous Failures by those in charge is covered up by attributing it on Islam and Muslims...We became the scape goat of every Thief and Gangs... Wake up Islam is being used as a scape goat by those stealing your money...while feeding you with unexplained hatred... Blowing the blows of a hummer smith.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    Some more (merely for practicing Christians):

    Assumed we could establish a revised Koran in the Western World, which contains no more war-suras, despite Christians had to reject Islam.


    Even without war-suras the Korans would be evil or anti-Christian.

    The Koran includes a lot of suras, rejecting the gospel. A summary of the Koran would be: "Don't ascribe partners to Allah!" The Islam is an extrem enemy of God's Son. The life of the historical Jesus was the opposite of the life of Muhammad. Jesus cured people, Muhammad killed people. Thus, when Muhammad had accepted Jesus as God or absolute divine ruler, it had blown up his new concept of Islam. It was extremly important for Muhammad to degrade Jesus, in order to design a new image of God or a pseudo-God, called Allah, according to his criminal will.

    Christians should never assume that Islam is just another way to God beside Christianity. That is wrong. Islam is no way to God, but the Anti-Faith. Islam pomotes the base instincts of man like longing for rule, honour, power, riches.

    Anti-gospel suras of the unholy Koran:

    (Note: “Messiah” means Jesus Christ, “People of the Scripture” are Jews and Christians)

    Sura 4, Verse 171:

    O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.

    Sura 5, Verse 72:

    They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers.

    Sura 9, Verse 30:

    And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!

    Everybody, claiming Islam would be harmless, after he has read the above verses, should undergo a medical check of his head.


    Although Christians will ever love (Christ has commanded love) their neighbours (also Muslims), they have to reject the Koran, the Islam and Muhammad.

    The Islam is a wicked heresy, which we condemn in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Muhammad was a false prophet. The Koran is a damned lie (it is merely true that the Koran promotes the basest instincts of man).

    September 7, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Abc

      Funny, how you are quating Christ has demanded love, but you have to reject Islam and its Prophets, where in Isam, in QURAN, it is clearly stated to belive in all the prophets not just one Prophet Muhammad PBUH, and to belive in all 4 Holy Book, including YOUR!, well the original one, not your modified copy of now a day. Other wise we would not be having all this trying to explaing conversation.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      How ignorant you are!

      The core tenet of Christianity is it to believe that Jesus, the Son of Mary, was God's eternal Son. Jesus is a person of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God and man at the same time. The devine nature and the human nature are perfectly united in the person of Jesus Christ.

      Jesus is Kyrios (Lord-God). God is three!

      Muhammad, in contrast, degraded Jesus to mere man. Muhammad only allows Jesus to be an Islamic (!) prophet, not more. What a lie!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Abc

      My applogies if you sensed some arrogance in my comments,
      the core tenent of Islam is to believe in One GOD, 4 Holy Books, the MessengerS, including Prophet Issa A.S, and that Prophet Muhammad PBUH was the last messenger.
      And one vers id live to quoat which i happen to know, unlike lot of others who can easily copy past but dont know anything behind the context of that vers:
      "If you kill one person, it is as though you killed the whole humanity, and if you saved one person, it is as you save the whole humanity".
      Then only problem with is my dear mr. that you will alwasy have bad apples everywhere, who are giving bad name to islam, and then you have bad publicity who is assissting in spread the hate. I am a Muslim, and i dont associate myself to any one who goes to blow themselves up to go to paradise, to them i say, well good luck in your paradise mate. coz thats not what islam teaches. and thats the truth, which deep down, all those who are againts islam do realize it as well at some level, they just need to be told or need to hear the RIGHT PROPER stuff, not some bs misquoated verses without knowing the full story.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • SeekTheTRUTH

      So Mary is Wife of GOD, Jesus is Son of GOD?????
      so in Christianity There are two GODs and one GODDESS???????
      AND then the Holy Spirit who is also GOD huh, Forgot about That one.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  8. Reality

    Why American's are uncomfortable with Islam:

    "o On the koranic passages and world domination:

    "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

    Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

    Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

    Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

    Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.
    In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

    Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.
    Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

    A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

    Don Richardson

    September 7, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  9. Guest

    Commenting on the picture,I wonder how their diet goes along with bowing head to *ss all the time.

    Id be angry too if I was smelling someone elses butt five times a day

    September 7, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Abc

      In this year of 2011, if you were to look up at the scientific findings about the movements of human body, the angle at which the sajda is done, it clears shows that the blood flow to your brain during this movement is actually very benifical. So how about some excercise to get some blood to your brain, so you can think and make better comments.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Muneef

      Hahaha. 🙂

      September 7, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • Muneef

      Really depends I he has any brains but obvious that he is all of a Nose...

      September 7, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  10. Muneef

    M. Asad
    Islam at the Cross Roads, S M Ashraf Publisher
    Lahore Pakistan


     It was then for `the first time in history that Europe conceived itself as a unity-and it was a unity against the world of Islam. Without indulging in undue exaggerations, we can say that modern Europe was born out of the spirit of the Crusades. Before that time there existed Anglo-saxons and Germans,
    French and Normans, Italians and Danes: but during the Crusades the new
    concept of "Western civilisation", a cause common to all European
    nations alike, was created; and it was the hatred of Islam that stood
    as godfather behind the new creation...

    September 7, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      How are you?

      The Muslims attacked "Europe" long before the crusades. After the Muslims had conquered Palestine, Syria, Persia and Agypt (beginning 632 a. D.), they even dared to attack Northern Africa, Italy, Spain and France.

      It is very clear that the Muslims first conducted aggressive war against guiltless Christian countries. 732 a. D. the honorable Charles Martell stopped the Muslim conquest in France (battle of Tours).

      Europe came into being first 800 a. D. when Charles the Great was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which was the predecessor of modern Europe. The crusades started first around 1096 a. D.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Muneef


      Kindly read the link it might refresh you more...

      September 7, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • J.W

      I think I need to start reading the posts between Rainer and Muneef. I may learn something.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  11. Guest

    Anyone who believes an anthropomorphized 'god' is a fool

    September 7, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  12. USand CDN

    Rainer, you hit the nail on the head. You are just more polite about it than I am.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:58 am |
  13. Rainer Braendlein

    Passage from the above article:

    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."


    I also appreciate the idea of relgious freedom. I personally am a Protestant. I am convinced that Christianity is the only true belief, whereby I would never force anybody to convert to Christianity. My maximum "terrorism" would it be to preach the gospel and to baptize people, which wish to convert voluntarily. Assumed, somebody would not accept my message, I would give it a damn and forsake that person. May he struggle to survive without God's help. It is his personal decision. I would never punish somebody for not accepting my message.

    What I have said is according to the Holy Bible. Jesus preached (offered) the gospel, but he never forced somebody to convert. The apostles did the same.

    Hence, Christianity fits together with democracy. Democracy is a ballance of many wills. Christianity on the one hand has the will to spread the gospel, but on the other hand accept the decision of the refusing people. Two wills exist side by side without any murder, hate or terrorism.

    What about Islam?:

    The gospel of Muhammad: Either you convert or we kill you. If we are merciful (sometimes), we allow you to pay tax (tribute) instead to convert.

    Sura 9: Verse 29 of the unholy Koran:

    Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
    ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #29)

    Interpretation of Sura 9: Verse 29:

    “Have been given the Scripture” are Jews and Christians, “believe not in allah nor the Last Day” are Jews and Christians, messenger = Muhammad, “Religion of Truth” = Islam, tribute = tax. Hence, Muhammad commands to conquer Christian and Jewish countries. Muhammad commands aggressive war. At least he is so “merciful” to allow that people pay a tax, instead to convert to Islam.

    Conclusion: In contrast to Christianity Islam is a religion, which doesn't go together with democracy. Islam seeks absolute rule. Islam cannot tolerate any other religous will beside itself. Look at the history of the Muslim conquests. History proofs that the commands of Muhammad to fight against "People of the Scripture", i. e. Westerners, were really meant literally.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • slei

      oh come on ,, every religion has it s own bla bla bla , but i think that ur interpretation must be from osama terrorist bin laden book ...and do i need to remind u that in the holy torah it s written some far strange things like in Baba Mezia 59b. A rabbi debates God and defeats Him. God admits the rabbi won the debate. Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep. like for bloody sake the torah even give a name to nn jewish people "Goyim" im sure i heard that name in lord of the rings ,,, and com onnnnn if the chosen people are on relgion what happens to muslims and christians wich are more related bcoz of Christ ,,,,,so i think all religions should do some updating to it s content like the vatican assembly in 1984 ,,,,

      September 7, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  14. USandCDN

    On 911 do not give the muslims the time of day. They asked for the treatment they are getting.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  15. USandCDN

    Why is it that my anti muslim comments are deleted but other anti religion ones aren't? It must be the liberal a-rab types that CNN hires.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  16. revolation84

    There is a lot of Ex-Muslim that know the Islam way of world domination like i do – ex radicals leader member in one of Islam majority – we asked funding from Taliban on Pakistan and we need to proof that we are using the fund, so we bomb bom and bomb- such fool action...

    And then Those Ex-Muslim run into USA just to be saved from radicals.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:08 am |
    • Muslims have not butchered any body like you westerners have butchered Jews

      So are there millions of Ex-Christians, you just call them atheists.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  17. revolation84

    Yeah start by read this: http://quran.com/5/51 -> that Muslim are not allowed to ally and friend with Jews and Christians.

    I write this under USA freedom of speech, so don't hack or spam at me. I don't attack Islam or Muslim, I just write the fact!

    September 7, 2011 at 5:02 am |
    • Abc

      The facts, Hadiths are facts too, you should look up at those as well, when at the time of migration Of Prophet Muhammad PBUH to Madina, the pact was made with who??? "JEWS", that you are residents of this city, so you practice what your belief and we'll practice ours with full freedem, but when its the city that is under attack from outsiders, we all should stand as ONE, So goes to show you, how not everything is told about islam, and only some uneducated, unvarified verses are quatoed to make up your views and spread the hate. How about asking some of the scholares who know about quran, the true story behind those vers that ppl jump to quat. if i was to pick up bible and start quating word like killing this and that, they holy smoke what is this bible telling us of killing etc, i mean lets all grow up, and try to find facts before passing a jugments.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • Muslims have not butchered any body like you westerners have butchered Jews

      Its protector not ally, Its pretty obvious because Jews have no problem accepting Christians and Christians have no problems accepting Jews, Christians also believe in all Jewish literature, but last 1500 years of history has proved that both religions hate Muslims and their religion most of times.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  18. Sue

    "47% of survey respondents said the values of Islam are at odds with American values." When I read the comments on this islam appeasing CNN website, I would think it's rather something like 97%. It's good to see Americans are finally starting what islam really is: a backward, hatreful, intolerant, racist and bigoted ideology which threatens our values such as freedom of religion and speech, human rights etc. Our ancestors died for these rights we enjoy today. So never allow a bunch of backward heathens or politicians to take these away.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:29 am |

    "The multiculturalists are very often ethnocentric separatists who see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes. . .Their mood is one of divesting Americans of the sinful European inheritance and seeking redemptive infusions from non-Western cultures."
    – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. ,Pulitzer Prize winner

    September 7, 2011 at 4:01 am |

    "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future."
    – CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper

    September 7, 2011 at 3:59 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.