Religion, Politics & Sex (Part Five)
Of Gods and Men

American Muslims

American Muslim According to the Pew, Americans are nearly evenly split on whether Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions.

40% of Americans say "yes" while 42% say "no." The rest don't have an opinion.

But there are troubling signs in the data. That number has nearly doubled since 2002, when just 25% said it was a more violent religion.

And there are clear pockets of deep fear -- two-thirds of conservative Republicans (66%) and a clear majority of White, evangelical Protestants (60%) say Muslims are more prone to violence.

This is all perfectly consistent with other research.  For example, about half of Americans told the Gallup organization they are at least “a little” prejudiced against Muslims.

Meanwhile, other Pew reports -- these studying American Muslims themselves  -- describe American Muslims in decidedly 1950s, Ozzie and Harriet terms as “middle class and mostly mainstream.” 

A December 2009 Pew Research Center report characterized American Muslims as “middle class” and “mainstream.” They are generally as well educated and financially well off as the general population.

And for all those who object to the construction of mosques in their neighborhoods, an earlier 2008 study showed that American Muslims’ civic engagement and agreement with democratic values increased with their religiosity.

 I wonder if this dichotomy stems, at least in part, from the fact that so few Americans actually know a Muslim.  Anybody have data on that?

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