Columns

Pew: Two-Thirds of Conservatives Think Discrimination Against U.S. Muslims Is on the Rise

A new survey about attitudes toward Muslims in America found nearly half of respondents believing “at least some” are anti-American and 59 percent believing there is “a lot of discrimination” against Muslims in the United States.

The Pew Research Center Religion & Public Life survey also found a split in the country on how Americans believe the president should talk about Islamic extremism.

Half thought the commander in chief should be careful when talking about the subject so as to not lump all Muslims in with the radicals, while 40 percent thought the president should “speak bluntly even if critical of Islam as a whole.” Seventy percent of self-identified conservative Republicans prefer the blunt talk, while just 13 percent of liberal Democrats prefer that route.

Among GOPs favoring blunt talk, 63 percent thought Donald Trump would make a good or great president, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 61 percent, Ben Carson at 47 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at 46 percent. Rubio was the top pick of those who said the president should be careful not to criticize Islam as a whole, followed by Trump.

Forty-two percent of those surveyed said they think “just a few/none” Muslims living in the U.S. are anti-American, while 11 percent percent replied “almost all/most.” Fourteen percent thought “about half” of U.S. Muslims hate America, and 24 percent replied “some.”

Sixteen percent of Republicans surveyed believed “almost all/most” U.S. Muslims are anti-American, while 7 percent of Democrats polled felt that way.

Thirty-two percent of GOPs and 15 percent of Dems surveyed said they believe “teachings of some religions promote violence,” while 57 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats chose “some violent people use religion to justify actions.”

Asked if there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. today, 62 percent of conservative Republicans replied “no” while 58 percent of moderate Republicans said “yes.”

Seventy-four percent of Democrats agreed that there is a good amount of Muslim discrimination.

Broken down by the faith of respondents, white evangelicals were least likely to believe a lot of discrimination exists, while black Protestants were most likely to respond that discrimination is a problem.

Seventy-six percent of all respondents said discrimination against Muslims in America is on the rise, with 66 percent of conservative Republicans feeling that way.

Fifty-two percent of non-Muslims polled say they personally know a Muslim. Blacks were the most likely to know Muslims, while Hispanics the least likely. Forty-eight percent of conservative Republicans and 63 percent of liberal Democrats said they know Muslims.

The Pew survey was released on the same day that President Obama makes his first visit to an American mosque.