Americans Big on Religious Freedom ... But Not Muslims

Fox News viewers especially see clash of civilizations
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2011 2:38 PM CDT
People demonstrate against allowing a mosque near Ground Zero at a rally in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2010 in New York.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Americans are big on the concept of freedom of religion—but they aren’t so keen on Muslims. According to data from a larger study last week, spotted by Dino Grandoni of the Atlantic, 88% of Americans say the country was founded on the principle of religious freedom, yet a whopping 47% think Muslim and American values are incompatible, and similar percentages say they’re uncomfortable with things like mosques in their neighborhoods or women wearing burqas.

“I think what we're seeing is a replaying of a very old story,” says the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, noting that in the past Americans have harbored similar prejudices against Jews and Catholics. And here’s an interesting tidbit: The most accurate predictor of anti-Islamic sentiment was Fox News viewership. Viewers of the network were 50% more likely as everyone else to see a conflict between American and Islamic values. Click for the full post.

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