- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2002

A majority of Muslim Americans support the U.S.-led military action against Afghanistan in the war on terrorism, a Zogby International poll shows.
Of those Muslim Americans surveyed, 51 percent said they stand behind the war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The poll also shows 80 percent of Muslims believe U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East led to the attacks.
Muslim-American advocacy groups said yesterday that the results of the survey indicate Muslim Americans have become an integral part of the American society.
"There was always this impression that Muslim Americans were this foreign community," said Faiz Rehman, of the American Muslim Council in Washington. "This poll just showed everyone that they are now part of the American mosaic. They're not outside the fold. Those who thought that were proven wrong."
Although 57 percent of Muslims are confident President Bush can handle the crisis, 67 percent suggest that changing U.S. foreign policy, if given the option, would be the best way to wage the war on terrorism. Only 13 percent said they would rather use some kind of military action.
"Foreign policy has always been a main concern and Muslim Americans are a bit torn," said Ibrahim Hooper, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based Islam-advocacy group. "They live here, they practice their religion here, but at the same time, they disagree with the relations the U.S. has with other Muslims around the world."
Eighty-four percent say America should support a Palestinian state, while 70 percent believe the United States should reduce its financial support to Israel, the poll showed.
The poll surveyed 1,781 Muslim Americans nationwide between November and December 2001. Zogby International conducted the poll for Project MAPS: Muslims in the American Public Square, which is part of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington. The margin of error is 2.4 percent.
"With this project … we were able to, for the first time, systematically get the opinion of the American-Muslim population," said Zahid Bukhari, director of Project MAPS. "The poll was a barometer of Muslim feeling and thought."
Mr. Bukhari said the poll covered areas such as Muslim-American demographics, voting habits, political opinions on U.S. domestic and foreign policy, religious practice, participation in mainstream American life, and the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The poll found that more than half, or 58 percent, of Muslim Americans are college graduates and a majority earn more than $50,000 a year. Nearly 40 percent of Muslim Americans are registered Democrats, while 23 percent are Republican and 28 are independent. However, most support the death penalty and school vouchers, and oppose homosexual "marriages" and physician-assisted suicide.
Of those polled, 61 percent of Muslim Americans think the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon could have been prevented, while 37 percent said the attacks were inevitable.
While the poll showed that a majority of Muslim Americans support the military action in Afghanistan, 64 percent agree that the war could lead to further terrorist attacks in the United States and more instability in the Middle East.
Fifty-seven percent of those polled said the attitude of other Americans toward Muslims and Arabs since September 11 has been unfavorable. Fifty-two percent said they knew of a person or an organization that experienced some backlash as a result of the attacks.


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