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

Wed Sep 9, 2009 2:00pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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-ten 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.
    --  Almost half of Americans (45%) say they personally know someone who is
        Muslim.
    --  Slim majorities of the public are able to correctly identify Allah as
        the name Muslims use to refer to God (53%) and the Koran as the name
of
        Islam's sacred text (52%), with four-in-ten (41%) able to identify
        both Allah and the Koran.

    --  Those people who are most familiar with Muslims and knowledgeable
about
        Islam are least likely to see Islam as encouraging violence, most
likely
        to express favorable views of Muslims and most inclined to see
        similarities between Islam and their own religion.


The report, including a detailed executive summary, methodology and topline
questionnaire, is available online (http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=436).
Additional results from the survey will be released in subsequent reports.

This survey is a joint effort of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and
the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Both are projects of the
Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on
the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.


SOURCE  Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life

Loralei Coyle, +1-202-419-4556, lcoyle@pewforum.org, or Robbie Mills,
+1-202-419-4564, rmills@pewforum.org; both of Pew Forum on Religion & Public
Life
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