It is not surprising that Jaweed Kaleem and the Huffington Post would assume that this unfavorable view stems from ignorance of Islam, or from the poll respondents’ not knowing a Muslim personally. No doubt this will be spun as an example of the success and influence of the nefarious (and fictional) “Islamophobia industry,” which supposedly churns out hate propaganda to turn Americans against Islam — for what motive, no one has explained. But in reality, Americans who have an unfavorable view of Islam do so because they see events such as the Boston Marathon bombings, and the perpetrators’ mother screaming that America “WILL PAY FOR MY SONS AND THE SONS OF ISLAM.” The Americans who have an unfavorable view of Islam do so because they see Muslims all over the world on a more or less daily basis committing acts of violence and explaining and justifying them by pointing to Islamic texts and teachings. They see one of the most brutal, barbaric and bloodthirsty polities in the history of the world call itself the Islamic State, and claim to represent Islam in its purity and fullness. They see all this happening and then people like Jaweed Kaleem and leading Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. whining about “Islamophobia,” rather than calling for genuine soul-searching and honest reform within the Muslim community. No amount of propaganda blaming all this and more on “Islamophobes” will convince most Americans to believe Jaweed Kaleem and the HuffPo in preference to their lying eyes.
“More Than Half Of Americans Have Unfavorable View Of Islam, Poll Finds,” by Jaweed Kaleem, Huffington Post, April 10, 2015:
More than half of Americans say they have unfavorable views of Islam, and six in 10 either aren’t interested or don’t know whether they want to learn more about the faith, according to a new poll.
Younger Americans are the most likely to have positive views on Islam, be interested in learning about the religion and have Muslim friends.
The findings, detailed in a HuffPost/YouGov poll on Americans’ views of Muslims released Friday as part of HuffPost Religion’s week-long Muslim Life in America series, show a nation of fractured opinions and experiences when it comes to Islam, with stark differences among age groups and political affiliations.
Overall, 55 percent of Americans had either a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Islam, while one in four said they were not sure how they viewed the faith. Just 7 percent said they had a very favorable view of the religion, and 14 percent said they saw it somewhat favorably.
While a majority had negative views, few seemed to base those judgements on knowledge or on relationships with Muslims. Just 13 percent told HuffPost/YouGov that they “understand the Islamic religion” either extremely well or very well. Thirty percent said they know the faith “moderately well.” Meanwhile, 16 percent of Americans said they work with Muslims and nearly one in four said they they have a friend who is Muslim.
The survey, conducted March 5 through March 9 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population, also asked if Americans had ever been to a mosque, and if people would be interested in learning more about the faith.
One in 10 said they had been to a mosque, and 39 percent said they would be interested in learning more about Islam. A higher share, 44 percent, said they would not want to learn more, and 17 percent said they were unsure.
When broken down by age and political affiliation, younger Americans and Democrats were more likely to feel goodwill toward Islam and to want to learn about it. Democrats were 16 percentage points more likely than Republicans to hold favorable views, and 13 points more likely to say they would be interested in learning more.
Forty percent of those ages 18 to 29 had an unfavorable view of Islam, compared with 63 percent of those ages 45 to 64, and 58 percent of those 65 and older. People under 29 were more likely to have Muslim friends, and were 20 points more likely than any other age group to say they would want to learn more about Islam.
HuffPost Religion associate editor Antonia Blumberg, who spearheaded the Muslim Life in America series, said negative perceptions of American Muslims partly inspired the effort to write about diversity among America’s 2.75 million Muslims. HuffPost’s stories this week have included features on the experiences of Muslim American college students, including a Muslim fraternity; Muslims in Hollywood; a Muslim filmmaker; social justice organizing within Muslim communities; and a counselor who started the Muslim Wellness Foundation….
“The bottom line is, too many Americans have never even (consciously) met a Muslim person,” Blumberg said. “They have no context for understanding the faith outside of what’s in the news. The aim of the Muslim Life in America series is to lift up the voices and stories of Muslim Americans from all walks of life to contextualize and humanize the faith for other Americans. When you realize the incredible diversity of the Muslim American community, stereotypes just won’t make sense anymore. “