Poll finds Americans believe Muslims face discrimination

Published September 14, 2009

New York (ENI)-Eight years after the United States faced its deadly terrorist attacks Americans believe Muslims in the country encounter more discrimination than any other religious groups.
A survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that a majority of those surveyed – nearly six in ten adults or 58 per cent – believe Muslims face far more discrimination than Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons.
The survey was conducted between Aug. 11 and 17 among 2,010 U.S. adults. It found that the only group those surveyed believe faces more problems with discrimination than Muslims were gays and lesbians, an opinion held by 64 per cent of those questioned.   The results were released on Sept. 9.
The Pew report found that 45 per cent of those surveyed said they believe Islam “is no more likely than other faiths to encourage violence among its believers.” Nearly 40 per cent, however, said they believe Islam encourages violence more than other faith traditions.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for the Washington-based advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Ecumenical News International that the survey confirms his organization’s view that despite some progress made in perceptions of Muslims since  September 11, 2001, there is still “a pretty consistent one-fifth to one-quarter minority that is actively hostile to Muslim Americans.”
The Pew survey, Hooper told ENI, is a good sign that Americans are aware of the problem and that “people are coming to recognize that there is a vocal minority promoting anti-Muslim hate.”
Mr. Hooper praised the administration of President Barrack Obama for trying to promote civility in the United States, but he noted it and others “of good will” need to speak out more forcefully and concretely on the issue of discrimination against Muslims.

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