“The overwhelming majority of American Muslims say they are not sympathetic with terror groups like al Qaeda, but they identify less strongly with the United States than other religious groups in the country, according to a new poll on Tuesday.
While 69 percent of American Muslims identify either very strongly or extremely strongly with the U.S., that compares with about 90 percent of Christians and Jews in the U.S. who hold those views, the Gallup survey found.
A full 91 percent of Protestants, 89 percent of Catholics, 86 percent of Jews and 92 percent of Mormons say that they identify either very strongly or extremely strongly with the U.S.
American Muslims and Mormons tend to identify with their faith and the U.S. equally, but Catholics, Protestants and Jews all said that they identified more with their country than with their religion, Gallup said.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, American Muslims have been in the spotlight for a variety of reasons, many of them associated with prejudice toward Muslims as supporters of terrorism.
An overwhelming number – 92 percent – of American Muslims said that Muslims in this country are not sympathetic toward al Qaeda, but that number was significantly lower among other religious groups with 56 percent of Protestants, 63 percent of Catholics and 70 percent of Jews saying that American Muslims do sympathize with the organization.
And Tuesday’s poll echoed that experience, with nearly half of American Muslims saying they had experienced religious or racial discrimination within the past year. About one-third of Mormons said that they had faced discrimination, compared to only one-fifth of Jews, Catholics and Protestants.
American Muslims also overwhelmingly said that they opposed military attacks on civilians, with 78 percent saying that such attacks are never justified and 21 percent saying they are sometimes justified. In other religious groups – except Mormons – the proportion saying such attacks are sometimes justified is twice that.
The poll found that Muslim in the U.S. were broadly critical of American foreign policy, with 83 percent of American Muslims saying the war in Iraq was a mistake, which, except for Jews and atheists, was about twice as high a number than other religious groups.
Unlike other religious groups in the U.S., Muslims said that widely unfavorable views of the U.S. in predominantly Islamic countries was caused by U.S. actions and not misinformation spread by those countries’ governments. Two-thirds of Muslim Americans said they believed that U.S. actions had tarnished its reputations, while about 70 percent of Protestants, Catholics and Mormons blamed the unfavorable views on misinformation.”