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Americans Think Islam Needs To Clean Up Its Act

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Most U.S. voters agree Islam needs to put the emphasis on peace.

The Muslim president of Egypt is calling for a revolution in his religion, saying that some of its beliefs have made it “a source of worry, fear, danger, murder and destruction to all the world.” Seventy-five percent (75%) of Likely U.S. Voters agree that Islamic religious leaders need to do more to emphasize the peaceful beliefs of their faith, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just seven percent (7%) disagree, while 17% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-two percent (52%) believe Islam as practiced today encourages violence more than most other religions. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say that’s not the case, but 20% more are undecided.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters think there is a global conflict in the world today between Western civilization and Islam. Only 19% disagree, but nearly as many (17%) aren’t sure. These views have changed little in surveys for the past three years.

Radical Islamic terrorists massacred 14 people in Paris last week in reaction to the publication of cartoons mocking their religion. Even before that incident, 86% of voters in this country said radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to the United States.

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The survey of 800 Likely Voters was conducted on January 11-12, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology

It has been reported that the attackers in Paris shouted an Islamic expression of faith and also that they had avenged the prophet Mohammed after they killed several people in the magazine's office. However, only 24% of Americans think the actions of the killers represent the true beliefs of Islam.

Just 16% of U.S. voters said the Taliban in Afghanistan represent true Islamic beliefs following their massacre of 130 school children in Pakistan, and 27% say that of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Men believe more strongly than women that Islam as practiced today encourages violence more than most other religions. The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to share that belief. But there’s general agreement among all these groups that there is a global conflict today between Western civilization and Islam.

Sizable majorities across nearly all demographic categories also agree that Islamic religious leaders need to do more to emphasize the peaceful beliefs of their faith.

Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans and a plurality (47%) of voters not affiliated with either major political party think Islam today encourages violence more than most other religions. But just 34% of Democrats agree. Voters in President Obama’s party are also much less likely to agree that there is a global conflict today between Islam and Western civilization.

Military veterans are more likely than those who haven’t served in uniform to think Islam today encourages violence more than most other faiths.

But even 77% of voters who don’t believe Islam encourages violence think Islamic religious leaders need to do more to emphasize the peaceful beliefs of their faith.

Millions marched in anti-terrorism rallies in France on Sunday to protest the killings in Paris. Many Americans worry a similar attack on those critical of Islam could happen here in the near future. 

Americans have mixed feelings about how media organizations treat religion in this country, but they strongly defend their right to say what they want to.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of U.S. voters believe most Christians living in the Islamic world are treated unfairly because of their religious faith. Just 20% think most Muslims are treated unfairly in the United States because of their religion.

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

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