What’s the cause of the flap over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque? Its proximity to the site of the World Trade Center is a lightening rod that attracts lots of energy. But the deep cause of the debate is not proximity; it’s the uneasiness so many Americans have with Islam.
Favorable opinions of Islam have declined in recent years, according to the new Pew survey we’ve relied on this week. Now, only 30% of Americans express favorable opinions of Islam, compared with 41% five years ago. Older Americans are more likely to hold unfavorable opinions of Islam, compared with younger Americans. But not more than a third of any age group expresses favorable opinions. Only 35% of Americans aged 18–29 have positive attitudes about Islam. This figure drops to a mere 20% of Americans 65+.
More formal education translates into more favorable attitudes about Islam, according to the poll. Even so, less than half of those with the most favorable opinions, college graduates, hold a positive view of Islam. The majority of Republicans (54%) have an unfavorable opinion, compared with 27% of Democrats and 40% of Independents.
Are you uneasy with Islam? If so, what’s your reason? If not, what makes you comfortable with Islam?
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