A new poll from CBS (with thanks to all who sent this in) is sure to give rise to renewed handwringing over “Islamophobia.”
(CBS) Although Americans believe they are better informed about Islam than they were five years ago, a new CBS News poll finds fewer than one in five say their impression of the religion is favorable.
Forty-five percent of respondents queried April 6 – 9 said they have an unfavorable view of Islam, a rise from 36 percent in February. And the public’s impression of Islam has diminished even more compared with four years ago. In February 2002 — less than six months after the terrorist attacks of September 11 — the country was evenly divided in its impression of Islam.
WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF ISLAM?
Thirty-six percent of respondents said they haven’t heard enough or don’t know enough to say either way.
Americans today are also more likely than not to believe that Islam encourages violence, at least in comparison to other religions around the world.
As it happens, I just wrote an article about this in another connection. Here is a relevant excerpt for those who will now begin Islamophobia-hunting in earnest:
If Muslims around the world don’t want Islam to be perceived as encouraging violence, they should take these five steps:
1. Stop committing violent acts.
2. Stop justifying those violent acts by reference to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
3. Stop saying violent or hateful things in private when they think no non-Muslims are around. For example, the imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, executive director of ministerial services for the New York City Department of Correction, was secretly recorded last year while speaking at an Islamic conference in Arizona. Muslims, he said, invoking Qur’an 48:29, must be “compassionate with each other” and “hard against the kufr [unbeliever].” In Britain, Hamid Ali, imam of the mosque frequented by the July 7 bombers, praised the bombers and called their terror attack “good” in a conversation secretly recorded by an undercover journalist. Publicly, he had condemned the attacks. In a mosque in the Czech Republic, a Muslim secretly filmed by a documentary filmmaker says Islamic Shari”a law, including the stoning of adulterers, should be adopted by the Czech Republic. Cleveland imam Fawaz Damra, who has since been deported for failing to disclose his ties to terror groups, signed the Fiqh Council of North America’s condemnation of terrorism, despite having declared at an Islamic conference that “terrorism, and terrorism alone, is the path to liberation.”
Do such incidents mean that every Muslim who professes to have adopted Western notions of pluralism and the equality of dignity and rights of non-Muslims and Muslims is dissembling? Of course not. But they do mean that non-Muslims are perfectly justified in being suspicious of Muslim protestations of moderation and opposition to terror. Consequently deeds, not just words, are needed. To conclude my five recommendations, genuinely anti-terror Muslims should:
4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
5. Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.