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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. ray

    do they really beleive that there are 72 virgins waiting for their martyrdom way of thinking? is that where the islamist who commandeered the planes to fly into ... i'll never trust them.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Mohammy Salamy

      Most of the virgins are camels....

      September 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Ken Black

      Can't be. Camels are almost born humped, aren't they? Goats maybe.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Mohammy Salamy

      Or Sheep?
      Sorry, that's Baaaaaaaahhhhhddddd,,,,

      September 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  2. nonterrorist

    There is no need to speculate as to whether Muslims intend to assimilate into our society, or whether they intend to take over our society. You can read about their intentions in their own words:

    "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."

    1998 speech to Muslims in California by Omar Ahmad, co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

    September 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Mohammy Salamy

      The movie "The Third Jihad" (on Netflix!) shows numerous leading "Moderate" American-Muslim leaders supporting Sharia, and terrorist organizations on tape.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  3. George

    There is a bumper sticker that some of you may have seen. It says, 'I learned all I need to know about Islam on 9/11"

    September 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • MuslimGoHome

      That says it all!

      I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of Islam taking hold in America. Muslims scare me more than Republicans - and Republicans are pretty f'ing scary!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • Mohammy Salamy

      Muslims scare me more than Obama, and he is really, really scary....
      I should have voted for Hillary!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • james

      are you writing this AGAINST islam or what?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • SelfEvidentTruth

      Yep... i've seen that bumper sticker... right next to the one that says "i learned all i needed to know about ABC's in kindergarten"........... LOL... have to admit that was a good one. Off to bed... Have to go to "work" tomorrow 🙂

      September 7, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  4. John Stefanyszyn

    Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist,etc....however all are American first
    One is not comfortable with the other, however each lives with the other based on inter faith and universal values
    All share the same primary core belief...the belief in freedom of rights and religion
    This core belief is a reliigion in itself, which all worship before their "traditional religion"
    It is, as Daniel said...the "god of fortresses"

    However, there can Only be One Creator God, One Salvation, One Christ, One True Way of life....for eternity.
    ...and Christ is not a religion but a reality.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Jazzpianist

      My wise brother-in-law, a colonel in the US Air Force Intelligence Unit, once said "more wars are fought over someone's invisible friend in the sky". He's right. No one really knows what Jesus said because he didn't write anything. Faith can't always explain the "certainty of a closed mind".

      September 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Chad

      You should have stopped after the first paragraph.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • TBM

      Chad, With all your posts, you don't say much. Just criticizing others. Not much of a discussion, one sided...

      September 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Chad

      It's easy to critique what's being written here, people are writing very foolish things. I'm coming out against stereotyping, fear, and ignorance. I think that just being fair and open minded goes a long way.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  5. TBM

    If I draw a picture of Mohammed and publish it, Muslims take to the streets and rioting ensues, people die. Yet this is one of my most basic writes (1st amendment) and they are at complete odds! Regardless of there religion, my rights of free expression out weigh their religious sensitivities. Period!

    I don't mind sharing my country with them, just don't try to make my country into one like they left behind!!!

    September 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Chad

      TBM, you used 'writes' instead of 'rights' and 'there' instead of 'their'. You are backing the stereotype that racist people are just plain dumb and under educated!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Anon

      Racist? Exactly what race is "muslim"? Last time I checked people of all races were muslim. You ignorant fool. Islam= death and destruction. Do some research instead of going by what people tell you and biased media say.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • TBM

      Sorry, I'm tired... What stereotype are your perpetuating?
      What did I say that can be construed as racist? I just don't want to give up my rights (:) to perpetuate their ignorance.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Chad

      Racist, xenophobia, bigotry, whatever. You get the point.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • No one

      Write and right have two different meaning. I don't think you're qualified to be an American.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Anon

      Anyone who sides with islam needs to do some research. The whole Quran is based around violence. Read about Taqiyya. Learn, learn, learn.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • TBM

      Chad Troll :?.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Chad

      I know I've won an argument when the other person is reduced to statements like the above.... 🙂

      September 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Chad

      Anon, where do you get your 'research', Fox News?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  6. nutley

    Well, duh, they worship a known child molester and insist on beheading anyone who doesn't agree with them. They should really head on back to their beautiful countries of origin, nice I'm sure

    September 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  7. George

    The truth is, mainstream America is never going to trust, or embrace, Muslims. End of story.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  8. kd

    Americans get dumber and dumber every year. And more hateful. And nastier. And more arrogant.

    And, honestly, it plays right into Republican hands, who love to fan those hateful, ignorant, arrogant, nasty flames.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • George

      Yes it does, and President Bachmann will destroy all of our enemies in a firestorm of nuclear devastation.

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

    The things I find most appalling about religion reach a new zenith in Islam – (i) a dulling down of individual thought and a dogmatic requirement to conform to the views of the masses; (ii) a stultifying ignorant education system in which anything inconsistent with the Qur’an is not just discouraged, but censored; (iii) the subjugation of women to the point of educating them to be nothing but mindless f*king, breeding machines for their insecure husbands; (iv) a political class that feeds off the religious-based ignorance it imposes on its populations; and (v) a general back-sliding against the rest of the planet because heads are buried in Dark Ages mythology.

    Wait until the oil runs out and see where your sky-god has gotten you then.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  10. George

    Personally, I have nothing against anyone, but I would truly love to see all Muslims go back to the countries that want to be dominated by Islam, and leave America forever.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Chad

      You seem like they type that has something against everyone.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  11. George

    They will cut your grandchildrens noses off. I had to type this real fast and try and sneak it in because they deleted it once already.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • S

      You sound like a nazi German talking about Jews. Do they have horns too?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • George

      Yes, they do.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  12. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    what would happen, if for one decade, all the money given to churches through donations instead went to our government?
    maybe financial crisis solved?

    September 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Jazzpianist

    Kareem: I hope you don't live in the US; you are an example of maybe why people don't like Muslims. I think Israel is illegally occupied, but I also know that not all Jews live in Israel or are Zionists.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  14. Baka

    The problem is people putting so much faith in a book written by men. And all books are written by men.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • G. Smith

      Try telling that to an Islamic Muslim!!!

      September 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  15. Chad

    Seeing all the frightened, angry, ignorant people here points to why the US is in so much trouble now...

    September 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • George

      I was in New York 9/11/01 and yes I was frightened, and yes I was angry, ...now what exactly is it that I am ignoring?

      September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Chad

      Reason

      September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • George

      It is reasonable to be frightened and angry after such an event.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Chad

      Sure it is, but I've seen your posts and you've abandoned reason, frankly. Maybe you were like this before 9/11 too.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • George

      Your personal attacks on me are just a micro reflection of what happened to thousands of innocent Americans, and others, on 9/11. Certainly you have animosity for me just because I am not a fan of Islam, and know that Islam is not compatible with American values.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • George

      And I have the same feelings about such organizations as the KKK, the Aryan Nation, and other groups who use violence to push their beliefs. They belong in prisons or out of the country.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Chad

      No offense, its just frustrating to see pervasive ignorance on this chat board. It's really indicative of what is going on in the US.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  16. Darlene

    I for 1 am NOT worried about their demonic "feelings" , Them being questioned at airports, other areas. Society having to conform to them, not them to society. They dont like it, dont come to the us, the ones that are in the us feel free to leave, go to the demonic islamic country of their choice and take the bleeding heart liberal sympathizers with them.if they are so against violence, they need to be marching in the streets saying so. Publicly condeming " radicals" .Their silence speaks volumes.

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

      You totally gave your bigotry away when you had the audacity to call human beings "demonic". Something tells me you don't know a whole lot of Muslims. I don't see why they would bother to associate with someone who spouts off such glowingly positive reviews about their religion.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Darlene

      You are more then welcome to leave the us or stay in the demonic islamic country that your probably in already, Good riddence!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Darlene

      and your right, i am a bigot when it comes to demons

      September 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  17. DrBakroChod

    Look at boarding an airplane. How much Islamic terrorist hassle ? At what cost ?

    September 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • .Tom A

      Troll- seriously- go away! lol

      September 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  18. Colin

    Waren Jeffs was jus convicted of the henious crime of having $ex with a 2 year-old girl. What a sick, disgusting man. According to the Qur'an, Mohammed had $ex with a nine year-old girl. That is, she was three years younger than Jef'fs' youngest victim.

    What a sick, revolting child-rapist Mohammed must have been.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Chad

      Your math is a little off there, Einstein

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

      typo – 12 year old girl

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

      Right, he was a pedophile

      September 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Jazzpianist

      Chad: Had you read the post more carefully you would have been able to deduce that the writer meant 12 years old, not 2. You are arrogant and holier-than-thou because you think all who push back at religious fanatics are either racist or afraid of foreigners. The actions of a few do, at times, characterize the image of a community of people.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  19. Chad

    Its easy to give in to stereotyping, I get the urges sometimes myself, but I know its wrong. It's easy to get fired up about a certain race, any race, over a perceived stereotype, but it never holds true.

    September 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  20. chewie

    I agree with the freedom of religion concept. Except when that religion thinks that all other people are infidels and should be eliminated. And a religion that stands by their fellow devotees even when they instigate something like 9-11. And a religion thjat believes that if one of their devotees tries to convert to another religion he should be eliminated. Remember David Corish in Waco and how our Justice Dept/Janet Reno killed them because of their stand on issues. Muslims/Islam is a worse cult than Corish ever was or intended to be and his group was killed because of their beliefs.

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

      They are far worse. Islam will make the nazis look like perfect angels

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

      You could make that argument about just about any religion! There have been mass murderers who were Christians and atheists too. You're only highlighting the example of Muslims because in your mind because you've been taught to stereotype them. It's really sad. Open your mind. I mean, do you even know anyone who is Muslim? Do you know anything about the Muslim faith besides what you've seen on the news? I'm assuming the answer to both is no, which makes you ignorant. Seek out other sources before you decide you start demonizing people.

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

      You don't know what infidel means. You're just regurgitating bullet points fed to you by people you allow to think for you. Must be nice to be a sheep.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:18 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.