Sympathy and warmth toward US Muslims is up in the past two years, while concern for Islam's tendency to violence is down, according to a Pew survey reported in USA Today on this, the eighth anniversary of 9/11. Bush's "religion of peace" mantra, combined with his refusal to speak bluntly about jihad or radical Islam, set the stage for Obama's truly Orwellian purge of America's vocabulary for thinking about those sworn to destroy us. And voila, today's poll findings are the result. Here is part of the USA Today story: According to the Pew survey, belief among Americans that Islam encourages violence has fluctuated since the Sept. 11 attacks, and was at its lowest level — a quarter of those surveyed — in March after the terror strikes.
By 2007, 45% of Americans believed Islam was more likely than other faiths to encourage violence. This year, that number fell to 38%. The group most likely to say Islam encourages violence this year was conservative Republicans, at 55%. But that dropped 13% from two years ago, making them the group with the biggest change of opinion since 2007.
The survey, conducted by telephone, also indicated that Americans have grown steadily more knowledgeable about Islam: 41% knew that the Muslim name for God is Allah and the Quran is the Islamic sacred text, compared to 33% in March 2002.
The "small and gradual, but noticeable" change has an affect, Smith said. Those most familiar with Islam were least likely to link the religion with violence. Fifty-seven percent of people who knew the names Muslims use to refer to God and their sacred text, and were also acquainted with a Muslim, said Islam did not encourage violence more than other faiths.
The same percentage of that group said their overall opinion of Muslims was favorable and 70% of that group said there's discrimination against Muslims.