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66% Think Most Christians Treated Unfairly in Muslim World

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Religious tolerance is a one-way street when it comes to the Muslim world, most Americans say.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe most Christians living in the Islamic world are treated unfairly because of their religious faith, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

By comparison, just 20% think most Muslims are treated unfairly in the United States because of their religion, although that's up slightly from 17% in March 2011 when we first asked this question. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Sixty-one percent (61%) think most Muslims living in America are not treated unfairly because of their faith. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure.

But only 11% think most Christians are treated fairly in the Muslim world. Twenty-three percent (23%) are undecided.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters consider radical Islamic terrorism a threat to the United States, with 38% who view it as a Very Serious one. Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe most radical Muslim groups in America should be monitored by the government as potential terrorists. 

But  80% also view the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion as Very Important.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 24-25, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Voter perceptions of U.S.-Islamic relations continue to deteriorate since President Obama’s highly publicized speech in Cairo, Egypt five years ago reaching out to the Islamic world. Many blame recent U.S. policies for that deterioration.

Voters under 40 are more likely than their elders to think most Muslims living in the United States are treated unfairly and less likely to believe Christians living in the Islamic world are mistreated.

Thirty-three percent (33%) of Democrats say most Muslims in the United States are treated unfairly for their religion, a view shared by just seven percent (7%) of Republicans and 19% of voters not affiliated with either major political party.

Republicans and unaffiliated voters believe much more strongly than Democrats that Christians are persecuted in the Muslim world.

Interestingly, in a June 2013 survey, voters who Strongly Approved of Obama's job performance considered the Tea Party a bigger threat to the country than radical Muslims

Voters who believe U.S. relations with the Islamic world are worse than they were five years ago feel much more strongly than other voters that Muslims in this country are not treated unfairly. Those same voters also feel the strongest that Christians are treated unfairly in Islamic countries.

Several Muslim groups and interfaith leaders took issue with a short film being shown at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City because of its use of the words “jihad” and “Islamist” in describing the terrorists. The critics believe the use of those words are an indictment of all Muslims and should be removed from the film, but just 13% of Americans agree. 

During the controversy over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 Ground Zero site in New York City, 62% opposed the construction.

Forty-one percent (41%) still believe most Muslims around the world view the United States as an enemy, but that's down eight points from last year. Voters are evenly divided over whether most Americans view Muslims worldwide as an enemy.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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