US Muslims More Tolerant, Opposed to Violence Than Other Faiths
Muslims in the United States express greater tolerance for members of other faiths than any other major religious group, according to a major new survey and report released Thursday by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center.
They are also more likely than any other religious group to oppose violent or military attacks against civilians, according to the survey, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.”
Nearly four out of five (78 percent) U.S. Muslims say that military attacks against civilians can never be justified. That compares with less than two of five Protestants (38 percent) and Catholics (39 percent) and just over four out of Jews (43 percent) who take that position, the poll found.
Similarly, 89 percent of Muslims said attacks by “an individual person or a small group of individuals to target and kill civilians can never be justified.” Between 71 percent and 75 percent of Christian and Jewish respondents agreed.
The survey also found that Jewish and Muslim Americans shared many views, including how best to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Eighty-one percent of Muslims and 78 percent of Jews queried by Gallup said they supported a two-state solution.
Jewish respondents were also more likely than any other group, including Muslims themselves, to believe that Muslims face prejudice in the U.S.
While 60 percent of Muslims agreed with the proposition that “most Americans are prejudiced against Muslim Americans,” that was less than the 66 percent of Jews agreed with it. Protestants and Catholics, in contrast, were roughly evenly split on the question.
Jewish respondents (80 percent) were also more likely — besides Muslims themselves (93 percent) — to see Muslim Americans as being loyal to the United States, compared to less than 60 percent of Christian respondents. Conversely, more than a third of Protestant and Catholic respondents questioned Muslims’ loyalty, as did 19 percent of Jews.
The survey, which was based on nearly 2,500 interviews with respondents, 475 of whom said they were Muslim, poses a major challenge to efforts, primarily by right-wing Christian and Jewish groups in the U.S., to depict Muslims — and Islam as a religion — as fundamentally alien, if not actively hostile, to “Judeo-Christian” or “Western” values and U.S. society.