- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

Arab Americans strongly support an all-out war against countries that harbor terrorists as well as President Bush's handling of the Sept. 11 atrocities against the United States, a new Zogby poll shows.
The poll, commissioned for the Arab American Institute, found that 63 percent of Arab-American Protestants and Orthodox Christians consider Mr. Bush's performance as commander in chief to be excellent, and another 34 percent say he is doing a good job.
"Arab Americans sense they are on the defensive 65 percent say they are embarrassed because the terrorists are Arab," pollster John Zogby said in an interview. "So there is a desire to show a strong sense of patriotism."
Millionaire Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, suspected of being the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has called on all Muslims everywhere to wage a holy war against the United States. The U.S. government has identified the perpetrators of the attacks as Muslim extremists from the Middle East apparently causing many Arab Americans to demonstrate their patriotism by supporting the war on terrorism to an even greater extent than other U.S. citizens.
"I suspect that feeling of embarrassment was reflected in the 69 percent Arab Americans who said they support an all-out war on terrorists, compared to 61 percent of Americans overall who support such a war," Mr. Zogby said.
"You see that sentiment reflected in other things," he said. "A substantial minority of Arab Americans said they favor profiling Arab Americans, and I think that's their way of saying, 'Yeah, I'll bear up under closer scrutiny.' It's a desire to demonstrate they are good Americans."
The support for both Mr. Bush and the war on terrorism is stronger among Arab Christians than among Muslims, as well as among Americans with family ties to Lebanon or Syria than to other Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East, according to Mr. Zogby's Oct. 6-8 poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Among Arab Americans whose families came from Lebanon and Syria, 88 percent rated Mr. Bush's performance as excellent or good.
While most Muslims who were surveyed had a positive view of Mr. Bush's handling of the crisis, fully a quarter of them responded by giving the president a fair or poor rating.
The poll also showed that 31 percent of those "whose family originated in Palestine" oppose an all-out war on terrorism, compared with 23 percent of Arab Americans overall.
"But I think the poll shows that religion is not as important as national origin and generation," said Arab American Institute (AAI) President James Zogby, the pollster's brother. "Americans of Lebanese or Syrian extraction who have been in this country for several generations obviously have much stronger feelings of attachment to the United States."
Even among the more recent immigrants, "the degree of support for the president and the outrage toward the terrorists are very high," he said. "And the support for what President Bush has done for Arab Americans is very high across the board."
He added: "And outrage against what the terrorists did on September 11 is equally high among those born here and overseas."
Mr. Zogby, the AAI president, said the polling data show that among Arab Americans living in the United States, "75 percent to 80 percent were born here and more than 75 percent are Christian."
Asked if they would support an all-out war against countries that harbor or aid terrorists who have attacked the United States, 70 percent of Arab Americans born here said yes, compared with 65 percent of those not born here.

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