WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – The findings of a 2012 summer poll on American attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims conducted by the Arab American Institute found increasing numbers of Americans view Arabs and Muslims in unfavorable terms.
Arab-American Institute President James Zogby said, “The numbers from our latest poll highlight that Park 51, the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab tone of the 2010 campaign season, anti-Sharia legislation, calls for Muslim loyalty oaths, and public attacks on American Muslims and Arab American public servants have taken a toll on American public opinion.”
“Despite the fact that most Americans are unable to make the distinction between Arabs and Muslims, the vitriol that has been aimed at both communities is clearly swaying public opinion along age and party lines.”
The poll found that not only is there growing anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment but there is also a generational divide, partisan divide and racial divide. Younger Americans (18-25) rate Arabs and Muslims up to 17 points higher than the older generation.
According to the survey President Obama voters give Arabs a net 51 percent favorable rating and Muslims a net 53 percent rating. Likely voters for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gave Arabs a 30 percent net unfavorable rating and Muslims a 25 percent unfavorable rating.
Democrats and President Obama voters give no group a net negative rating. Republicans and supporters of Gov. Romney voters only give strong negative ratings to Arabs, Muslims, Arab-Americans, and American Muslims.
Favorable attitudes toward Arabs, Muslims, Arab Americans, and American Muslims are significantly higher among Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. Whites are more negatively inclined.
Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment has been on a steady rise. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last year revealed nearly half of Americans (49 percent) hold an unfavorable view of Islam. This is a 10 percent increase from October 2002, a year after 9/11 attacks.
The reason for this increase is a well organized Islamophobia network, according to an investigative study by the Center for American Progress, called “Fear, Inc.” The study found a small group of so-called “experts” have undertaken the task of “profoundly misrepresenting Islam and American Muslims in the United States.”
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said, “What looks like generalized unfairness or intolerance is really not that at all. It’s actually fairly well planned, organized and executed.”
“It is being carried out in a way that’s difficult to understand unless you do what these researchers have done which is to probe the very roots of the issue to the donors, to the funders, the propagandists all the way out to people who voice some of these things to others,” he said. “This can’t just be the problem of Muslims. This has to be seen as an American problem.”
Mr. Zogby agrees. “When you have a decades-long campaign, it begins to take its toll. This didn’t start with 9/11 because after 9/11 we didn’t see these numbers. It started with people like Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson and Fox News,” he said.
Fear Inc., exposed the Islamophobia network, say its authors. The report says the ugly rhetoric starts with the funders that include the Donors Capital Fund, the Russell Berrie Foundation and the Fairbrook Foundation, who over the past 10 years have contributed $42.6 million to the anti-Islam campaign.
The funds go to support “misinformation experts” Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum, David Yerushalmi at the Society of Americans for National Existence, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America, and Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, according to critics.
The misinformation experts generate lies like there is a “creeping Sharia threat,” “all Muslims are terrorists,” “mosques are incubators for terrorism,” the “Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated mosques” and “President Obama is a Muslim,” said Faiz Shakir, one of the report authors.
“There are only five key people who are considered their scholars. They put together the reports and so-called facts. They then give it to the media and politicians who then serve as their validators,” said Mr. Shakir. “This problem won’t go away easily. There is a grassroots effort to fan Muslim hate for political benefit.”
‘Fear, Inc.’ driving anti-Islam views in U.S. (FCN, 09-30-2011)
Anti-mosque groups push campaign in New York (FCN, 09-06-2010)
Rejecting bigotry and targeting of Muslims (FCN, 09-06-2010)
Is Islam a Religion of Violence? (FCN Webcast, Min.Farrakhan, Press Conf. 05-25-2005)