Mary Wisniewski, Reuters, July 29, 2014
How Americans view Arabs and Muslims has gotten worse in recent years, with negative feelings strongest among Republicans and senior citizens, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
Only 27 percent of Americans have a favourable opinion of Muslims, down from 35 percent in 2010, according to the Zogby poll, commissioned by the non-profit Arab American Institute. Favourable attitudes towards Arabs dropped to 32 percent from 43 percent in 2010.
The poll also found that 42 percent of respondents believe an American Muslim’s religion would influence his or her decision making in an important government job. The same percentage believe it is justified for law enforcement to profile Arab Americans or American Muslims.
For example, 59 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of people 65 or older agree with profiling Arab Americans or Arab Muslims, compared with 32 percent of Democrats and the 18-29 age group. Only 29 percent of non-whites favour profiling, compared with 47 percent of whites.
Zogby noted that many Americans falsely conflate Arab and Muslim communities, assuming that most Arab Americans are Muslim, when less than a third are, and that most American Muslims are Arab, when less then a quarter are.