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. Kafir4life

    The issue is NOT Americqns accepting I$lam it is mu$lims accepting American values rather than waiting out untill there is enough of them to I$lamise America..where on earth would this not be an issue??? Other than on C N N of course who is giving us an over dose in the run up to 9/11 as Allah forbid the thought would remotly cross (no pun intended) our minds that we were attacked by mu$lims, in the name of i$lam, based on i$lamic doctrine, cheerd by mu$lims all over the world and silently condoned by Amercian mu$lim who in most part resist any attempt to get them to spit out the jihadists amongst them...of course not as aidong the kuffar is against i$lam and mohannad's teachings...

    September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • rolf

      Spot on. How often have you heard an Imam speak against the extremists? Once, twice or never?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • S

      Rolf how often do you go to a mosque and listen to an imam speak? Can you even name a single imam in your city? Or are you just assuming no imam ever has spoken out against extremism because you base all of your opinions on the news, which hasn't chosen to extensively cover the views of imams, seeing as we're not a Muslim country?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Kafir4life

      @S you have noooooo idea how bad it is!!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  2. NoShariainUS

    Islam is like the Borg from the movie Star Trek.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Very much so. They believe that resistance is futile.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • DJ

      Shouldn't you be making hats out of aluminum foil or something? Go back to your hole

      September 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • NoShariainUS

      Islam is confusing. They say there is no god but allah, yet they worship Al-Hajar-ul-Aswad, the Muslim idol.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • NoShariainUS

      And the Kabaa is the Borg Cube...

      September 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Darlene

      Islam isnt confusing, its demonic

      September 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Cory (Humanzrstupd)

      "Islam is like the Borg from the movie Star Trek."

      This comment just made my day. Have to remember this one. I ask permission to used this line (and I will credit you of course) in a future post.


      September 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  3. Mysterdude

    This is a so called christian nation. Do you remember reading anywhere in the bible about christians getting involved in politics?

    September 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, that's a fallacy. Franklin, Jefferson, Ethan Allen, Thomas Paine, and other revolutionaries were deists.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • nonterrorist

      Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, anointed first Saul, and then later David, to be king over Israel.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • S

      So what? America was established to abolish monarchy in favor of democracy, "noterrorists".

      September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  4. us1776

    Just outlaw all these "Invisible Being" cults.

    Religion = Human Suffering and Death


    September 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • .Tom A

      Hmmm.... I'm pretty sure Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Mother Theresa would all agree with you. Thank God they have each done a little more than you and I put together to end suffering in the world. I think they were inspired and driven by...hmmm... uh... oh yeah it was Rel... oh jeez, now thats kinda crazy

      September 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • BethTX

      Religion is simply an idea, not evil in and of itself. It's the way fanatics pervert it that causes suffering.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • .Tom A

      Beth- don't you have a fart joke to make? You can't have it both ways- either your trying to make comments to further the discussion, our your sitting in the back of class telling fart jokes- you really can't have it both ways. Don't expect people to take you seriously.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • james

      religion is just a construct of humanity, it is no more an instrument of death as the atomic bomb. everything man creates is meant to cause suffering. it is within our nature to destroy. science, religion, thought, all of it are instruments of salvation and destruction, it is all relative and arbitrary in the end. we are our own undoing.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  5. BethTX

    Looking at the picture at the top of the page, I wonder how many are farting.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Know What

      They are not allowed to. They must leave and wash again if they do.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • BethTX

      That's just inconvenient. I was going to convert to Islam, but forget it.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Know What

      The only good thing is that they have very clean feet!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • In(whose)GodWeTrust

      The most likely answer: NONE !
      Explanation: Muslims perform a thorough ablution (washing) before each prayer to attain a state of physical and spiritual purity. They have to be in this state when praying. This state of purity is broken or compromised in the event of flatulence (aka farting), defacation, or urination. If a Muslim senses in his prayer that his state of purity is compromised he/she must immediately abandon the prayer and resume only after performing ablution once again. (source: NOT fox news)

      September 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  6. NoShariainUS

    We are at war with Islam. We did not start it, but we have been attacked by the Islamic faith that wants nothing more than to destroy freedom of religion in America and implement Sharia law. Most top "moderate" Islamic leaders in the US denounce Israel, support terrorism and want Sharia law in the us.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • .Tom A

      The religion did not attack us! People that profess to be of a religion attacked us. Should American-Indians say Christianity attacked them when we started coming over with Missionaries and killing in the name of God? "Most top moderates...want Sharia law" Really? And who SPECIFICALLY are you talking about? I'm pretty sure they aren't someone who is considered a "Top moderate". We could nominate YOU for top ignorant bigot, however.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • NoShariainUS

      Watch "The Third Jihad" by Muslim-American Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. It is very eye opening. He has on tape numerous US Muslim leaders supporting Sharia in the US, supporting Hamas and other terror groups, etc. Scary stuff...

      September 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • james

      one can not be at war with an idea. we are at war with men who twist the idea to make it an instrument of destruction. only those who are ignorant think as you do. i hope you are happy confined in your little black box.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  7. independent

    Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, bias, right-wing phobias, Faux News.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Chad

      Yep, couldn't have said it better myself.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  8. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    forget islam, it's american values are at odds with any theocracy

    September 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • BethTX

      I declare a fatwah on you in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

      September 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • .Tom A

      Love the implication that Islam is inherently about creating a theocracy. And the bit about the Flying Spaghetti Monster...? Really? Is that all you have to do with your time? See, even if people that believe in God are wrong, there has been so much Good done in the name of religion, that your comment just makes you seem immature. For example, the civil rights movement in this country was largely fuelled by.... Religion! Maybe we should make fun of Mother Theresa for spending all those years helping the poor- man, what other kind of stupid things is religion going to inspire people to do? You know what- if believing in a Flying Spaghetti Monster inspires someone to go out and volunteer in their community, or take a wiser stance in dealing with a rude person, or steers you towards bringing up your kids to value social justice- is that something to ridicule?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      tom, buddy, the implication of my comment was that ANY theocracy is bad. Muslims that want to only interpret reality through the lens of their religion will naturally want a theocracy. Same goes for christians. Or hindus, or jewish folks. A lot of good has been done by religions, but so has a lot of bad.

      If religion was the answer, we'd have world peace by now. Two thousand years should be enough time, right? Ask most religious folks why they believe in god, and they'll simply answer 'because i do, it's my faith.' That type of blind faith is ignorant in and of itself, and should not be tolerated by society, especially the religions they belong to, unless all the religions want are ignorant masses that give them money.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • .Tom A

      I would caution against "throwing the baby out with the bath water" with regards to religion. Yes, there are extremists in Religion. Yes, there are even greater numbers that simply passively accept the religion they grew up with. I think you miss the point of religion if you think "it hasn't worked". It hasn't worked for you. You also assume that when religion "works" it will work in the way you would expect it to. Considering you clearly don't believe in any other reality than that which your senses can observe, this isn't surprising, but also doesn't show that your right or that the religious are wrong. Religious life has been around for much longer than 2k years. There have been human burials- with burial items, ie a belief in the after-life, for around 100k years. Every society has had believers in God or the Divine.
      Yes- no theocracy! But religion clearly has a place. And those who are believers (still the majority) have a place too.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      Not sure you can say religion hasn't worked for me. The whole pedophile priests, the jihads against this and that, the holocaust, the conquest of the americas, the spanish inquisition...
      the list goes on and on and on. At some point, the same god that worked miracles with burning bushes, dividing loafs and seas, crashing walls down with trumpets, raising the dead, curing leprosy, raining fire, killing the first born of an entire civilization, turning water into wine and blood –that god, at some point you gotta ask yourself how come we don't have some sort of closure by now, unless, of course, it's all a nice little story.

      I'm not saying that religion, belief in a purpose for our lives as I choose to define it, is inherently wrong. In fact, I think it would be wonderful. What I'm saying is any belief built as hogwash will be hogwash. Same reason why you shouldn't build your house in a swamp. You need the foundation of humility and critical thinking to build a strong house.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  9. NoShariainUS

    What would CNN post if not for their daily Muslim articles? Followers of Islam and Mohammed, who believed word for word what Mohammed said attacked America on 9/11 and several other times. 35 homegrown Muslim attacks have been stopped in the US since 9/11. We can not stop them all. It is time for the media and muslims themselves to turn against radical Islam.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • donotbebiased

      Do not be so biased. First read up on what Islam is about and then post your opinion. I rather you keep your trap shut if you haven't don't your research and your opinion is solely based on biased and ignorance.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • NoShariainUS

      I have read the Bible and Qur'an exhaustively. Islam is a sick twisting of the Judeo-Christian faith.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  10. thatguy

    Europeans are fed up with Muslims and there are so many of them over there

    September 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • DrBakroChod

      Have you heard of Londonistan ?

      September 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • AGuest9

      No, but I've been told of Londoners who are sick of having buses coming to a stop when its time for prayers and the driver has to get out and pray. Personally, if they can't move into the 21st Century, don't live in the First World.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  11. DrBakroChod

    Muslim should be ruled by Muslims only. If in doubt ask a Paki.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • DrBakroretarrrded

      You can shut the fuk up now "D

      September 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  12. Elliot

    I wonder how many of those who said that Muslim values were at odds with the US have read the Koran. Where have they gotten their information, from F@*?! News? And are they claiming that Christian values are American values, which are not always the same. Those values may also be in conflict with Jewish values, Hindu values and Buddhist values. The percentage of Muslims who support terrorism is as small as the percentage of "white supremacist / extreme patriots" in the US who want to overthrow the government. And definitely smaller than the number of people who believe than N. Sannity or Rush Gumball make any sense.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  13. DrBakroChod

    New Muslim homeland USA map will look like Moth eaten in the beginning. Muslim will never accept injustice and Jihad will be encouraged,financed and spiritually guided.Ruler of all faithfools, Khalipha will be appointed from spiritual home of Muslim, none other than Pakistan. Arabic wil be the language of the land. Alcohol will be officially banned. Easy divorce and no child support, four wives at a time will encourage tourism.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • DrBakroKiMaaChodo

      Ok indian. Go back to your hole now. I mean india.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  14. DrBakroChod

    It is true that not all Muslim are terrorists, but unfortunately all terrorists are Muslim. Islam is areligion of peace is political tune to get Mulim votes. Everybody, Muslim included understands that.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • DataJack

      Yes, I remember when the Muslims used to blow up Northern Ireland churches. And when they blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City.

      September 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Kate

      This is not true. Not all terrorists are muslims. Terrorists can be any race and any religion.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • hmmm

      you did happen to notice the terror attack in Norway recently by a right-wing Christian per chance?

      September 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • james

      all terrorists arent muslim, what about the kkk and the neo nazi, and also those people who burn abortion clinics. they are christians, and they attempt to use fear to control others. this makes them terrorists. there are good and bad people in both groups, this generalization you made was awful.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • John

      If Islam is such a peacefull religion, why does the Quaran DEMAND that all be converted voluntarilly or by the sword?

      September 7, 2011 at 2:04 am |
  15. DrBakroChod

    In New Muslim Homeland USA , Pakistan will be consider Mother country, Mecca will be spirtual center. China will be inspiration.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  16. larishi

    Americans may have gotten more afraid of Muslims after 9/11 but what i don't understand is what does terrorism have to do with religion? One can be Christian and be a terrorist or Buddhist or Jewish. Americans must understand that it is true that Al-Qaeda is Muslim but Muslims are not Al-Qaeda. In my opinion the obsession must stop because it is creating stereotypes against Muslims and we are NOT in a war with ISLAM!!!!!!!!!!!! Islam is a peaceful religion and I'm sure that terrorism is not the way to martyrdom.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • SIS


      September 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • fred

      I assume you are either a democrate muslim or both. How about you show me One main muslim leader that condems the Quaran that says kill jews and Americans.

      September 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • J.W

      I think I agree except that I do not think a Buddhist could be a terrorist. One of the core beliefs of Buddhism is that you should not kill, that you should not even kill a bug. They are even vegetarians because they cannot kill an animal.

      September 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • DataJack

      Fred – you need to educate yourself – a lot. You are embarrassingly uninformed. "democrate" is spelled "Democrat". Commas are part of the English language for a reason. The Quran actually doesn't (and if you knew as much history as a 3rd grader, you'd know it couldn't) mention Americans. And it doesn't condone killing Jews or Christians.

      Don't get me wrong – Muslims can be just evil as Christians, and Islam is as evil as Christianity, but to single them out is just echoing a Fox News talking point.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Kate

      Iarishi I think you are very correct. Christians can be terrorists too. Why condemn a whole religion for the actions of a few, it's incredible ignorant.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • DrBakroChod

      In Islam Merciful Allah forgives, other religion God punishes. Take your pick.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      dear SIS, in the Bible it says Jesus will come back as the lion, laying his wrath upon the sinners. Plus there's the whole god destroyed most of mankind with a flood. Christianity was the major religion involved in the conquest of the americas and it rose to power in rome by preaching military success would stem from putting crosses on the roman shields.

      ...there's plenty of violence everywhere in religion. Just like in politics, they say one thing and then do the opposite. It's all smoke and mirrors, and instead of educating the public, our leaders feed the insanity to maintain their power.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Read the Qur'an and tell me that it's a "peaceful religion".

      September 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  17. DrBakroChod

    In New Muslim Land USA, Dr Bakro Chod will open a Hygiene center for all faithfools. How to clean goat before and after.....LOL

    September 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • .Tom A

      In my new US, all trolls would be forced to stay under their bridges indefinitely. We get it- you have no life. Now go away.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  18. DrBakroChod

    Why Muslim should not have homeland in USA where they can practice their religion according to Sharia Law ? Mosque at every corner with Saudi petro dollar. AllMuslim brothers are welcome. No background check. Muslim homeland in USA will be known as Pakistan II. Now or never.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  19. Matt

    Only two thirds of Americans are supportive of one of our country's founding principles? The fact that 33% of Americans don't believe in seperation of church and state is the most disheartening part of this article. Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, whatever... KEEP YOUR RELIGION OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • NoShariainUS

      Islam is more than a religion, it is an overpowering political system that if implemented strips most human rights from the followers and bans all other belief systems, including atheism. That is why most Americans want nothing to do with Islam in the US.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  20. John Schwendler

    I get the "religious freedom" angle. But it also serves as an Achilles Heal to Americans. Under that guise, we let in people I simply don't trust. Apparently a lot of Americans agree with me. Allowing that mosque in NYC so close to Ground Zero was so wrong, so dis-respectful. The pity is, probably (we don't know for sure) many muslims do want to live here in peace, without the sound of gunfire nightly, and missles overhead, and mobs in the blood-filled streets. They must adore our electricity which never goes off, our full food markets, our choices. Still, after living for 60 years and having traveled all around the northern hemisphere, I just don't trust any of them.

    September 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • new2nyc

      I remember a couple of years ago when the northeast was left without electricity for the good part of 3 days. I guess your pride in is misplaced.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • In(which)God(do)WeTrust

      Electricity never goes? Full food markets? ........uhm Hurricane Katrina ring a bell? LOL
      Please, if we are going to make a case against Muslims, let's not embarrass ourselves with stupid comments! (and you're 60 years old too! I was gonna say "grow up" LOL)

      September 6, 2011 at 10:25 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.