Watch for the sleight of hand. From AP, with thanks to all who sent this in:
WASHINGTON – The percentage of Americans who believe Islam is more likely than other religions to inspire violence has declined in the past two years, according to a poll taken after the London bombings.
Just over a third, 36 percent, now say the Islamic religion is more likely to inspire violence, while 44 percent said that in July 2003, according to the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
“This may have to do with some backing off of negative opinions the American public had of Muslims in 2002 and 2003,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center.
The poll found that recent terrorist bombings in London have had no noticeable impact on the public’s view of Muslim-Americans or of Islam.
Just over half in the poll, 55 percent, said they have a positive view of Muslim-Americans. That’s roughly the same number who felt that way in July 2003 and higher than the number who said they have a positive view of Muslim-Americans in March 2001, before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
About the same number in the poll, 57 percent, said they have a favorable view of evangelical Christians. Three-fourths had favorable views of Jews and Catholics.
“The more people know about Islam, the less critical they are,” said Kohut.
People who were more knowledgeable about Islam tended to have a more positive view of Muslim-Americans and their religion. Only a third of Americans said they have some knowledge or a lot of knowledge about Islam.
OK. If a third of Americans say they have some knowledge or a lot of knowledge about Islam, although a large percentage of them may have gotten it from Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, that means that two-thirds own up to being ignorant of Islam. But since only 36% think that Islam is more likely than other religions to inspire violence, we may surmise that almost two-thirds of Americans don’t think that Islam is more likely to inspire violence. Then we are asked to believe that this is because those who are more knowledgeable about Islam know that it doesn’t inspire violence.