NEWSWEEK Poll: Americans Are Mixed on U.S. Muslims

The latest NEWSWEEK Poll paints a complicated portrait of American

attitudes toward the Muslims in our midst

WEB EXCLUSIVE By Brian Braiker

Jul 20, 2007, 01:00 ET from NEWSWEEK

    NEW YORK, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans are largely
 accepting of the Muslims among them but remain worried about radicals
 inside the United States, according a new Newsweek Poll -- the first the
 magazine has conducted on attitudes toward Islamic Americans. Forty percent
 of those surveyed believe Muslims in the United States are as loyal to the
 U.S. as they are to Islam. (Thirty-two percent believe American Muslims are
 less loyal to the U.S.) But close to half (46 percent) of Americans say
 this country allows too many immigrants to come here from Muslim countries.
     A solid majority of Americans (63 percent) believe most Muslims in this
 country do not condone violence, and 40 percent tend to believe the Qur'an
 itself does not condone violence (28 percent feel it does). But 41 percent
 of Americans feel Muslim culture glorifies suicide.
     Most Americans surveyed (52 percent) view Muslims who live here as more
 peaceable than those living outside the United States. (Only 7 percent
 think Muslims here are less peaceable.) Still, there is a high level of
 concern among Americans about Islamic radicals inside the United States. A
 majority of Americans report being either "somewhat" (38 percent) or "very
 worried" (16 percent) about radicals within the American Muslim community.
     The concern over radicalism seems to translate into some support for
 FBI wiretapping of mosques. Roughly half (52 percent) of the poll's
 respondents favor this kind of surveillance. The same number rejects the
 notion that Muslim Americans are unfairly singled out or profiled by law
 enforcement, while more than a third (38 percent) do think Muslims are
 unfairly targeted. Yet if a 9/11-style terrorist attack were to occur
 again, 25 percent of Americans would support mass detentions of U.S.
 Muslims; a solid majority (60 percent) would oppose such detentions.
     There are between 3 million and 6 million Muslims living in the United
 States. More than a third of adult Americans (36 percent) say they
 personally know a Muslim living in the United States. Fifty-two percent of
 those surveyed are aware that most Muslims in this country are immigrants;
 19 percent believe most are converts born on U.S. soil. Nearly two thirds
 (64 percent) say they would have no objection to a son or daughter dating a
 Muslim, and slightly more (69 percent) think Muslim students should be
 allowed to wear headscarves in class (23 percent think they should not).
     Americans are split on whether they would vote for a qualified Muslim
 for political office (45 percent would, and the same amount would not).
 Younger Americans tend to be more likely to vote for Muslim candidates.
 More than half (57 percent) of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 say
 they would cast their ballot for a qualified Muslim-a number that dips to
 44 percent for the 40-59 crowd and drops to 32 percent among Americans 60
 and older.
     The NEWSWEEK Poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates
 International on July 11-12. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,003
 adults, age 18 and older; the overall margin of error is plus or minus 4
 percentage points. The margin of error for questions asked only of
 Democrats and Democratic leaners is plus or minus 6 percentage points; for
 Republicans and GOP leaners, 7 percentage points. - Poll Numbers