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. citizenUSA

    A person wearing a Burqa doesn't make me uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable though with anyone being able to walk around totally unidentifiable. Many states have laws that do not allow anyone to walk around with full face coverings, (except for Halloween). A person praying at an airport wouldn't bother me but that can be a safety hazard considering the way Muslims pray as well as the amount of times per day. I don't want my airport to be anyone's place for worship. Go to your own facility. Many cities don't even celebrate Christmas as they used to, which started for the sake of Muslim feelings. However I do feel that since Christmas is tied to only one religion, it's not fair to all the others. But hey, wasn't this country founded under the terms, "in god we trust"? Why do we need to make such concessions for Islam? Things seemed to be working well until all this Islam/Muslim stuff started coming up. It's funny how many Muslims consider themselves so superior to Americans because of their religon yet Islam is one of the most violent and vulgar religions. The more we try to intergrate the more we segregate.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  2. Lauren

    Islam is a religion of peace, and the muslims will kill you in order to prove it

    October 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Sadly, humanity finds ways to do that whether it beased on religious affiliation or something else.

      October 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • mohsin saadah

      in the Bible in 1 corinthians, chapter 11, verse 3, " A woman must put a veil on her head, and if she refuses, she must shave her head. " so should condemn and mock and redicule christianity and label all christians as anti women since the bible states this, and dont get mee started, there are surplus verses in thee old and new testament that portray bad values, should we deport all jews and christians from america based on the grotesque passages from the two testaments, old and New, i rest my case

      October 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  3. Fred S.

    How many times does a person have to accept being a victim before it is no longer refered to as profiling ! They have a choice as do I ! Their behavior is unaceptable in the 21st century. They reap the seed they sow.

    October 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  4. anti muslim

    I despise the way these muzzzies claim discrimination, then force their women to wear burkas. The muzzie men are pigs, and paedophiles. I DO NOT LIKE MUZZIES>>>period muzzies should be rounded up and their property seized, muzzies hate America WELL I HATE MUZZIES. YOU should ALL be deported NOW!!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  5. StarBorneMaiden

    Gasp! Americans are uncomfortable with muslims!? I had NO idea! So shocking. idiot writer........

    September 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  6. BUCKEYE13


    September 30, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  7. fucallah

    Do not be uncomfortable with us. We only wish to kill those that do not bend to our will by: worshipping our false god of the moon, pretending that he appointed a prophet by having him fly his horse to heaven, accepting that the message during that meeting was that we should repeat god's words back to him 5 times a day for some reason, promoting the enslavement of women, the "marriage" of 6 year old girls to 50 year old men (the Prophet did it, so why can't we?), etc. etc. You will like us better when we are killing your family members and destroying your churches, as we have done in every country where we are the majority.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      The moon? Oh, yes. Some infidel Americans have been there, done that forty years ago. Walked around picked up some rocks, dropped feathers, drove a car around and taken golf shots. Didn't see what's-his-face (pbuh..pthh!) or any mslms there, though...just a lot of craters, no minarets. Ho hum!

      September 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  8. ffgfg34e

    there is some of the christians bad and there is some the muslims bad and there is some of the christians good and there is some of the muslims good and no matter what are you the matter is you belive in god

    September 28, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • Vivan Mohoney

      And there is some grammar bad too.

      October 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • citizenUSA

      Nice. Make fun of someone posting a great message but hasn't mastered English enough for you. YAY Americans!

      October 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  9. Jose M. Pulido

    Islamic women from Islamic countries yearn to be free but they have no freedom to express here their pain and suffering by the oppression of Islamist male enslavers. If they were to express their oppression by male Islamists, they would very likely be beheaded. And, is this the ideology these clowns want to bring and impose on the USA? Male Islamists in here portray Islam as if it were the champion of freedom and human rights.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm |

      Hello Jose,

      I've read a few of your posts and seems like ignorance is the front face of the way you speak! Please learn about a religion and it's people before assuming that a "Mosque is a terrorist sleeper cell." Why can't terrorists sleep at their own homes? Does a Mosque give them extra training?

      Let me ask you this. If women around the world, in Muslim Countries, are yearning for freedom, then would you not imagine at least one of the woman got free through all these years and is possibly in the respected United States? If so, then do you not agree that she could and probably would start a movement for freedom for women?

      Finally, I have travelled to many countries around the world, but have not seen half of what you are mentioning. I'm not claiming it doesn't happen, but these events take place in remote areas and areas of high density of uneducated people. Please do not show America as one of those places by creating prejudice and oppression against minority and PLEASE do not spread the ignorance! I know many Muslims that have very good intentions and their women have more freedom than most Americans by the way they live, go to places and spend money! Just stop the spread of ignorance and prejudice. It would be an honor for me to host you and some Muslim families to show you how nice and respectful they are. All you need to do is open your mind up and see these people's true color instead of having a pre-set judgement!

      September 29, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • chewie

      Dear One Nation; The reason that mosque are not welcome in neighborhoods is because they are a great meeting place for mu slims that "may" want to start a terrorist cell, why take a chance with providing them a place to organize. . Also, mu slims blow up mosque all the time if that particular sect of Islam doesn't agree with the thoughts of the other cults thinking. Not is the USA yet, but why take a chance on one of those goof balls blowing up a mosque in my neighborhood. Islam is NOT a peaceful religion even if the groups are all muslims. In the middle east they blow each other up all the time.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • chewie

      Dear One Nation; mu slims blow up mosque all the time if that particular sect of Islam doesn't agree with the thoughts of the other cults thinking. Not is the USA yet, but why take a chance on one of those goof balls blowing up a mosque in my neighborhood. Islam is NOT a peaceful religion even if the groups are all muslims. In the middle east they blow each other up all the time.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Dear ONE NATION,

      The problem is, no women in their right mind – Notice, i said RIGHT MIND, that means UN BRAINWASHED FROM BIRTH..would want to wear burkha. Women are trained from DAY 1 to be that way. Women are VERY oppressed within Muslim beliefs. Women do not share equal rights with men...and when does being able to SPEND money have to do with freedom? Spending money is not a freedom... Nothing. Women are slaves to Muslim men. Women can not make household decisions they can not divorce and most punishments toward Muslim women are death – if a women wanted to leave her husband..this is not freedom... Women do not have choices in the Muslim communities

      October 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  10. Altee11

    You know the burkha is not Muslim. If it were Muslim, you would see several hundred million women in countries around the world wearing them. The burkha, hijabs and other similar items meant to cover the women are pushed forward by cultures that seek to oppress women. The leadership of all religions in this country and around the world must seek to make the burkha a thing of the past. It represents total control and oppression by people who are afraid of open societies. It's not religious; it is claimed as such, but it isn't.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Altee11

      The worse item by far is the burkha.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • chewie

      The big advantage is that the women don't have to comb their hair and they can wear real sloppy cloths underneath. That "must" be the reason.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • jawdeh wazwaz


      October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  11. Rubens

    9/11 was caused by your own government as a plot to effectively perform its war on Islam.. Just as Hitler burned down his own parliament and blamed it on the poles to justify his invasion. You sheeple will follow all that your leaders tell you and you will give them your freedoms as fools do. Anyone who cant see that and dismisses it as a conspiracy, know that you are in a conspiracy plot yourself. Welcome to the New World Order.

    September 9, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • cnn444

      Go back to the books. Hitler blamed the communists, not the Poles.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  12. Muneef

    Really silly to think that people were dancing for the murder of other innocent people that were in the planes and the buildings that were targeted but rather those who had laughed or danced were at state of shock of disbelief while happy to seeing that the Pride of the Hulk or the "T-i-tanic" Tyrant been hurt...

    What they did not know is that this was not the story they were made to believe...but was rather a broke hulk was all rapped up in protocols and agreements that froze  their move and had to plan and allow the happening of some thing big that would allow it break the chains wrapped up with to do what it had done for the last decade....!?

    Who is laughing at who with such stories that you planed created for us more advance beforehand which were and are watched it the Hollywood Movies...other than all the prophecies beforehand...!! It was by such act as well the presidency and the party time was extended for four other additional years to mess-up with the that been messed up with since then.

    Twin Towers world trade centers....how much financial transactions take place there...? For who's interest to mixup the cards or burn down the records? What were the effects of that towards the world economy and trade...? Who's full benefit such act was for....? Was it at all for Muslims benefit!! How much Muslims have lost against the benefit of hurting a pride of a Tyrant...!? 
    Just wonder whether Enron some how connected to it since that was within time frame...!!

    September 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  13. Green Span

    America did not have Muslims problem until the Clintons let Muslim immigrate here en mass, and the arrival of the Iraqis.
    It's not too late to shut down Muslim immigration. We used to refuse communists entry to America, let's do that for Muslims too.
    They don't share American values of freedom, democracy, woman right.
    Stop all Muslim entry, at the airport, at the border.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Why stop at immigration? Why not repeal the first amendment and get rid of all pesky "non-American" religions?

      September 8, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Green Span

      I'm guessing that you don't know a whole lot of Muslim's, do ya'...?


      September 8, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Green Span:
      That is right. Islam must be banned from the USA because it is not a believer-friendly religion; it is a useless, worthless and brutal ideology disguised to infiltrate and conquer nations by force or from within.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

      Green Span,

      So let me get this straight. You want all Muslim entries in the U.S. to stop? How is that possible? Do they ask if a person is Muslim? If so, that is against the First Amendment! Now let's look at this in a different light. If we were to stop Muslims from entering in the United States, the economy would COLLAPSE! Muslim's have over $7 TRILLION U.S. DOLLARS in the American economy. Imagine what would happen if they pulled that out! The job-less rate would go from 14% to 40%! Just look at the state of Georgia. Ever since they started getting rid of the Hispanic population, unemployment has skyrocketed. That's because they helped the economy by spending money at the local stores and made that money by doing jobs you and I would not want to do. Just think before you speak!

      September 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • chewie

      Dear Peaceto all; of course he knows about muslims, why do you think he said what he said.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • anti muslim

      That sounds almost anti-muzzies wow!!! BAN musslumms from entering the U.S.. Sounds damn good to me!!!!!!!

      September 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  14. Carla

    Muslim teachers are a million times better than the liberal teachers. At least they don't teach falsehood knowingly.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  15. Carla

    Americans are lost. Mosques and the Muslim presence are 1 trillion times better than your bars, casinos, liquor stores, public schools, your TVs, movies, music and games.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Mosques are Islamic terrorist sleeper cells. All those buildings you compare to Islamic-terrorist sleeper cell mosques, are better than having an eerie-looking mosque in our neighborhoods. Mosques are places where you and your fellow potential Islamic terrorist plan the execution of terrorist acts against the USA; they are a snake pit of hatred toward the USA. But we are watching and listening to all potential terrorist sleeper cells mosques. If you think you and Islam are better than what we have in the USA, you have a complex messianic complex of superiority.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • chewie

      Dear Carla: I bet you are glad that you live in America and have had a chance to compare Islam to our Bars and Clubs. If you were in Saudia Arabis you would have been stoned to death for being in a bar with "men". . Of course because you are in America you can go back to the Middle East any time you want.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • chewie

      Dear Carla: I think that you live in America and have had a chance to compare Islam to our Bars and Clubs. If you were in Saudia Arabis you would have been stoned to death for being in a bar with "men". . Of course because you are in America you can go back to the Middle East any time you want. PS I will chip in on a one way ticket.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Dear ONE NATION,

      No. That is the problem wiht Muslim faith, it believes itself the ONLY anwser and Muslims kill and destroy life all around itself in the name of being a Muslim..that is not what GOD would want..nor would GOD wish for anyone from any religions to claim it is so righteous as to say its THE only way and better then all else..What demon are you praying to?

      October 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  16. Muneef

    911 Goha's Nail fixed on the whole Islamic Nation and not particular sectors of Islam;

    911. From days alike last year 2010 up to these same days..of 2011 already one whole year for me here and noticed that heat arises every time this days come closer or a certain accidents take place... Last year was a Florida Paster of Dove Church threatening to burn the Quran...! This year GOD knows what under sleeve awaiting the opportunity to divid the nations united under the Western and Eastern Flags further more into bloodshed confrontations...under the name of Religions or Political Parties"Ideologies"...! 

    Latest was explosions in India marked as "Islamic Jihadists" and another in Pakistan although I was surprised that it was not marked as "Hindu Jihadists"... That would have had both Great Countries confront each other serving the purpose of other competing nations over the Rich Indian Peninsular... Believe me no nation fall back unless people of her own are traitors to it's nations principals and beliefs for the reason of Hate,Envy,Revenge, or Greeds towards material wealth even if by selling their Dignity and integrity or their family,tribe,community,the nation and the country it wouldn't mean much to them...and those can be found among every level of the one Society...

    Any way seems that we Muslims are seeing our religion is being Nailed one  after another with acts that we disapprove of under any name such as targeting civilians or those in duty of the law and order..! As a responsible person from a great religion such as Islam, I wouldn't make an act in a place where I think many innocent Muslims would suffer in the hands of non Muslims...!!
    Still I do not believe that those call them selves Muslims Jihadists would not mind making a Terrorist acts at or close to Mosques or any minorities worship houses,nor in the markets where people make and take their living and needs..!?!
    This is not my Islam where we should reflect to be a honorable example that is Respected and Feared as Human of High Morals and Intel-lig-ence rather than being Feared as Sa-v-age Barb-a-rians...!! That is the True Jihad and not the one we see every one use to claim a false victory bases other humans miseries..!?!

    Islam and Muslims is a General Word that is divided it to many sectors that are rejecting,disputing the main Islamic doctrine... So how would we know which of those are doing what where all then blamed for some thing they knew not of...?
    Find for your self which sector could be responsible in such big conspiracy with others who hate Islam in targeting the Original Islam Doctrine and other innocent Islamic sectors...!?!

    Summaries of the major sects within Islam;

    September 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  17. Frank Mondana

    I'm uncomfortable with any far-right religious conservative. I don't care what religion. They all want everyone to live under their version of morality.
    Maybe that should be the next poll. Find out how many want theocracy, no matter what book they might use.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  18. Reality

    As per the topic: "Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims !!! Many reasons for this have been noted. Here is another one.

    Islam gives women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Aya-an Hi-rsi Ali in her autobiography, In-fidel.

    "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."
    ref: Washington Post book review.

    some excerpts:

    "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

    "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race."

    "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating."

    "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

    September 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Muslims have not butchered any body like you westerners have butchered Jews

      Again pinpointing some individuals and ignoring 99% of others.

      September 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Karol

      The Turks butchered the Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians during World War I.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Dear ONE NATION,

      HUH? That happened in Germany..got ur facts mixed up...Americans protected the Jewish. You are brainwashed. American values embrace other religions but the problem is, if a religion we try to embarrass attacks all other cultures and beliefs...does it still deserve fair treatment? Muslim belief is parasitic..BREED TO CONTINUE like a insect..DESTROY OTHER CULTURES ..like a PARASITE..

      October 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  19. protectUSA

    Just wonder why Muslims does not go to china and preach their religion overthere. Anyone really know why ?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Carla

      China has 25 million Muslims but not growing fast. China needs no outsiders like the West does.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Dear ONE NATION,

      Huh? Communistic China would not TOLERATE MUSLIM religion trying to take over..just like we shouldn't..

      October 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  20. Curt G

    Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said the values of Islam are at odds with American values. Fifty-three percent of survey respondents don't understand the values of Islam. It should be very easy for Muslims to take over and enforce sharia law on the rest of us because their birthrate is greater than the general population, all their kids born here are US citizens, and it won't be long before they outnumber the rest of us. Then we will end religious freedom in this country and Islam will be enforced. Since Americans are so ready to trust everyone and Muslims don't have any problem with lying to achieve their goals it should be no problem for them. People, stop being so gullible!

    September 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • alikhan122

      If this survey was done amoungst Americans then were any Muslims approached about this survey? I guess the assumption is that if your American you can't be Muslim and vice versa. This totally represents an ignorance on the part of most people about Islam in general.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Muslims have not butchered any body like you westerners have butchered Jews

      Yes American values are to invade , steal , ethnic cleanse and Muslim values are much much different.

      September 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
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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.