A new survey of U.S. public attitudes toward Muslim-Americans and Islam finds that a majority of Americans — 55 percent — regard Muslim-Americans favorably, but that smaller numbers – only 41 percent — have favorable impressions of Islam as a religion. The study by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center indicates that many Americans perceive a link between Islam and violence, with more than one in three saying Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers. Experts on Islamic-American relations believe such negative views stem from American ignorance of Islamic culture.
Muslims and Islamic culture have long been an integral part of American society. But today, almost years after the 9/11 attacks by radical Islamists and the start of America’s war on terror, many Americans associate Islam with violence and extremism….
The Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center did a more scientific survey. Gregory Smith, who co-authored the study say, “Only about four in 10 say they have favorable views of Islam, and there is also a minority of the public – but a substantial minority, about one third in our survey last summer – who say that they are concerned that Islam encourages violence among its believers.”
American Muslim leaders blame the US news media for generating what Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council for American Islamic Relations calls “Islamophobia”.
“The kind of coverage that the American audience has been receiving about Islam and Muslims leads one to just one conclusion, that Islam is bad and Muslims are violent,” he said. “The media has failed to capture the reality of the Muslim world and only focused on the actions of the few.”
Charles Johnson puts it well:
The “actions of the few” include those of CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad himself, who during a 1994 speech at Florida’s Barry University stated, “I am in support of the Hamas movement.”
This Voice of America article, like almost all mainstream media pieces that cite the Council on American-Islamic Relations, doesn’t bother to mention Nihad Awad’s statement supporting a genocidal terrorist group. Mainstream media also think you don’t need to know that at least five of CAIR”s employees and board members have been arrested, convicted, deported, or otherwise linked to terrorism-related charges and activities.
But oddly enough, even though the media are keeping us ignorant of these facts, Americans seem to have increasingly negative opinions about Islam. Go figure!