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What Americans Really Think about Muslims and Islam

According to the journal ‘What Americans Really Think about Muslims and Islam,’ Shibley Telhami argues that the horrifying terrorist incidences that have in recent times caught by surprise San Bernardino people and Americans at large eliciting extremist Jihadism operating in U.S soil. The Nonresident Senior Fellow on foreign policy at Center for Middle East Policy and U.S. Relations with the Islamic World asserts that terrorism in the name of Islam is an issue that has taken center stage widely since 9/11. Shibley Telhami observes, hadn’t been the fact that GOP’s candidates are into the political undertones over the subject, the political conversation would pave the way for a change in perceptions about Islam and Muslims.


Shibley Telhami reiterates that right after ISIS bombed down a Russian civilian airplane before the Paris and San Bernardino attack, a poll conducted highlights many aspects. Attitudes of Americans of the subject are merely outgrowths of their past experience. First, he contends Americans know the contrast between Muslim people and its religion, but they do view the religion unfavorably than they do about Muslims including Donald Trump. Though perceptions about Muslim worsened after the 9/11, the views neither changed since the Arab uprisings after a series of sympathy from the Americans.

He observes, recent polls in 2015 show an optimistic perception improvement with 61 percent of Americans expressing favorable views about Muslim people. Yet, this is when the perception changes coming at a time ISIS was on the rise and considered the biggest threat to the U.S. Secondly, every party affiliate views the Muslim people and Muslim as a religion differently in America. Majority of the Democrats (67 percent) hold favorable views of Muslims compared to 41 percent and 43 percent of the Republicans and Independents respectively. On Muslim religious perceptions, 51 percent of then Democrats hold a favorable opinion about it compared to 73 percent of Republicans pointing out a dissenting stand view about Islam. Also, this includes Republicans who express unfavorable views including Muslims like Donald Trump as president. Americans don’t appreciate the racial clash though the perspectives are diverse. Party differences again emerge on this issue with demographics reflecting the young generation and literate groups holding a higher education holding more favorable opinions about Islam and Muslims. They don’t appreciate the clash of civilization over this issue either. However, those below high school education, about 49 percent, hold dissimilar views compared to 44 percent of those with high school education. This takes into account 63 percent of those with college education pursuing or attained degrees and above.What Americans Really Think about Muslims and Islam

Constituents of the Americans from the Middle East, American Jews and Evangelicals contrast with 20 percent of American Jews saying Islamic and Western religious plus cultural traditions are mismatched. Majorities of those with Muslim friends or those know them even to some extent have favorable views of Muslims. For instance, 22 percent of Republicans who happen to know Muslims firmly end up embracing favorable opinions about them. This is in comparison to 51 percent of Republicans who know some Muslims but no well enough. Nonetheless, it emerges that knowing Islam very well among a significant number of Americans doesn’t change the perceptions as much. In any case, the understanding of Islam has improved the views of the Islamic community to a significant level. The Muslims themselves are equally divided when it comes to attitudes towards the Muslim religion.





Ultimately, on a reflective perspective, it does matter on what American views of the Muslims because of policy implications including how this influences Muslims to inevitably view themselves in the Islamic religion. While the political undertones tend to exaggerate the whole debate, most end up forgetting religion and ethnicity are significant small parts on how people see themselves.  During the 9/11, New York lawyer, Anika Rahman, postulated that he used to think of himself as a New Yorker until it finally it hit him feeling a stranger. For Muslim women, they could be seen as enemies of the city. At one point he thought himself as a lawyer, feminist, friend of the street and such like as identity to relationships in the community. However, Shibley Telhami concludes arguing the worst thing Americans can do is to generally paint themselves with a wrong perception towards their fellow citizens.What Americans Really Think about Muslims and Islam