- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

As President Obama visits a mosque in the U.S. for the first time Wednesday to show support for Muslims, a new poll finds that Americans are divided along partisan lines about whether the next president should criticize Islam when speaking about terrorists.

The Pew Research Center survey found that 70 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say the next president should speak carefully about Islamic extremism so as not to criticize Islam as a whole.

But Republicans prefer “blunt talk,” Pew said. In the poll, 65 percent of Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP said Mr. Obama’s successor should speak bluntly about Islamic extremism even it means being critical of Islam.

Of the Republicans who feel that way, 63 percent think Donald Trump would be a good or great president, and 61 percent said the same about Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Mr. Obama has been highly critical of both presidential candidates for proposing a ban on Muslim immigrants or a religious test for Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

In the survey, 52 percent of Americans said they personally know someone who is Muslim. Pew found that 59 percent of Americans believe Muslims in the U.S. face a lot of discrimination; 74 percent of Democrats feel that way, compared with 42 percent of Republicans.

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