Many Americans view Islam unfavorably, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are more than twice as likely to view the religion negatively as those backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll of more than 7,000 Americans.Does anyone really believe that as many or slightly more Americans have a negative view of atheism as Islam? When was the last atheist terror attack?
It shows that 37 percent of American adults have a "somewhat unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" view of Islam. This includes 58 percent of Trump supporters and 24 percent of Clinton supporters, a contrast largely mirrored by the breakdown between Republicans and Democrats.
By comparison, respondents overall had an equally unfavorable view of atheism at 38 percent, compared with 21 percent for Hinduism, 16 percent for Judaism and 8 percent for Christianity.
My guess is that 38% of Americans genuinely have a problem with atheism, whereas only 37% of Americans feel comfortable speaking honestly about their concerns with regard to Islam. Such concerns need not be hateful nor, at this point, an expression of "prejudice" -- a word that means a pre-judgment, in advance of the facts. There are plenty of hard facts in evidence now. At this point, anyone who doesn't admit to honest concerns about Islam as practiced today is not being honest, possibly with themselves. Muslims themselves have reasons to be concerned about Islam just now, and maybe Muslims most of all. I know some several who will admit to their concerns, at least in private conversation.
Again, at some point we need to start speaking honestly about all this. If we're to avoid a future of ethnic cleansing and worse, we need to stop trying to paper this stuff over.