Americans Back Push for Better Muslim Relations

Want Better Relations With Muslims
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 9:29 AM CDT
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, right, shake hands following their joint statement at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, April 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Most Americans are on board with President Obama’s plan to “seek a new way forward” with the Muslim world, with 81% saying the initiative to improve relations with Muslim nations is important. This in spite of the fact that 55% say they lack a basic understanding of Islam, and 29% see it as a violent religion, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Nearly half of all respondents had an unfavorable view of Islam, the highest level since late 2001.

Nearly two-thirds said they trust Obama to handle his visit to Turkey well. A quarter of respondents, however, and half of Republicans, worried that he would “go too far.” Republicans were more likely to hold negative views of Islam, with 60% distrusting the religion, compared to 40% of Democrats; younger respondents were less likely than their elders to see Islam as inherently violent.