Friday, January 22, 2010

More bias in US against Muslims than other faiths

More bias in US against Muslims than other faiths
By RACHEL ZOLL (AP), Washington Post
January 20, 2010

NEW YORK -- Americans are more than twice as likely to express prejudice against Muslims than they are against Christians, Jews or Buddhists, a new survey found. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have little or no knowledge of Islam. Still, a majority dislike the faith.

The analysis, for release Thursday, is from the Gallup World Religion Survey and is part of a project on finding ways to increase understanding between Americans and Muslims.

President Barack Obama and his administration want to improve America's image in the Muslim world. Many analysts who study extremism also say that U.S. Muslims who feel alienated from broader society resist integrating, potentially becoming more vulnerable to radical ideas.

In the poll, just over half of Americans said they felt no prejudice against Muslims. However, 43 percent acknowledged at least "a little" prejudice against Muslims, a significantly higher percentage than for the other four faiths in the survey.

About 18 percent of respondents said they had some level of prejudice against Christians, while the figure was 15 percent toward Jews and 14 percent toward Buddhists.

Asked about knowledge of Islam, 63 percent of Americans say they have "very little" or "none at all." A large majority of respondents believe most Muslims want peace. Yet, 53 percent of Americans say their opinion of the faith is "not too favorable" or "not favorable at all." By comparison, 25 percent of Americans say they have unfavorable views of Judaism, while 7 percent say they have "some" or "a great deal" of prejudice toward Jews.

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