CAIRO: Though they lack the
basic knowledge about Islam, more than half Americans already hold
negative views about the faith and think it supports violence,
according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
"There is still a
broad lack of familiarity with the world's second-largest religion
-- 55 percent of those polled said they are without a basic
understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam," the Post said
Monday, April 6, summarizing the findings.
"…most said they
do not know anyone who is Muslim."
ignorance has prevailed as the results showed, underlying views
remained utterly negative.
"About half, 48
percent, said they have an unfavorable view of Islam, the highest in
polls since late 2001," said the daily.
"Nearly three in
10, or 29 percent, said they see mainstream Islam as advocating
violence against non-Muslims."
As in previous
surveys, the poll showed that unfamiliarity was the main reason for
the suspicious views.
"Some 53 percent
of those who know a little background on Islam are more likely to
see the religion as peaceful.
exist for those who know a Muslim."
A recent survey by
the Pew Research Center showed that the majority of Americans know
very little about Islam.
Though there are
no official figures, America is believed to be home to nearly seven
negative views, the majority of Americans back Obama's plan to seek
improved relations with the Muslim world.
81 percent of Americans in this poll call it important for Obama to
try to improve US relations with Muslim nations; 46 percent say it's
'very important,'" said ABC News.
Obama is currently
on a two-day visit to Turkey, his first to a Muslim country since
assuming office in January.
"The US is not and
never will be at war with Islam," he told the Turkish parliament on
the final leg of his tour of Europe.
has promised to turn a new leaf in America's relations with the
Muslim world after eight rocky years under wartime predecessor
George W. Bush.
inauguration speech, Obama vowed to seek a "new way forward" with
the Muslim world.
His Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton visited Indonesia, the world's most populous
Muslim country, in her first foreign trip hoping to restore US
American-Muslim relations hit record low.
His invasion of
two Muslim countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, put a bigger strain on
already shattered ties.
Monday his administration was seeking broad engagement with Muslim
"We will listen
carefully, bridge misunderstanding... We will be respectful, even
when we do not agree."