Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Among U.S. Religious Groups, Muslims Seen As Facing More Discrimination

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans see Muslims as facing more discrimination inside the U.S. than other major religious groups.

Nearly six-in-10 adults say that Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons, according to a new
report based on a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on
Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
In fact, of all the groups asked about, only gays and lesbians are seen as facing more discrimination than Muslims.

Results from the national survey, conducted Aug. 11-17 among 2,010 adults,
reveal that two-thirds of non-Muslims say that Islam and their own faith are
either very different or somewhat different, while just 17% take the view that
Islam and their own religion are somewhat or very similar. Majorities also see
Mormonism, Buddhism and Hinduism as mostly different from their own beliefs.

Other findings include:

-- High levels of perceived similarity with religious groups are associated
with more favorable views of those groups. Those who see their own faith
as similar to Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism and Islam are significantly
more likely than others to have favorable views of members of these groups.

-- A plurality of the public (45%) says Islam is no more likely than other
faiths to encourage violence among its believers, compared with 38%
who say that Islam does encourage violence more than other religions.

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