March 09, 2006

Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing

Could this be to blame?

Not according to the WaPo:
As the war in Iraq grinds into its fourth year, a growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll found that nearly half of Americans -- 46 percent -- have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when Muslims were often targeted for violence.
Could the continued reports of deadly riots, burning embassies, and bombings throughout the world have anything to do with this? They continue:
Americans who said they understood Islam were more likely to see the religion overall as peaceful and respectful. But they were no less likely to say it harbors harmful extremists, and they were also no less likely to have prejudiced feelings against Muslims.
Prejudice and racism!
James J. Zogby, president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, said he is not surprised by the poll's results. Politicians, authors and media commentators have demonized the Arab world since 2001, he said.

"The intensity has not abated and remains a vein that's very near the surface, ready to be tapped at any moment," Zogby said. "Members of Congress have been exploiting this over the ports issue. Radio commentators have been talking about it nonstop."

Juan Cole, a professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan, agreed, saying Americans "have been given the message to respond this way by the American political elite, mass media and by select special interests."

Cole said he was shocked when a radio talk show host asked him if Islamic extremists would set off a nuclear bomb in the United States in the next six months. "It was ridiculous. I think anti-Arab racism and profiling has become respectable," he said.
So the conclusion can be made thusly--negative American attitudes are not attributable to the thousands of murders, beheadings, burnings (cars, embassies, flags), acid attacks, honor killings, rapes and other acts of terrorism (Bali, London, Israel), but to American prejudices and anti-Arab racism. Makes sense, if you drink koolaid and wear tin-foil hats. Not all Muslims are terrorists, nor all Arabs. But there is a common thread among those who are terrorists right now, in 2006--Islam. Not Christianity, Judaism, atheism, or paganism.

More photos here.


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