More Than Third of U.S. Muslims See War on Islam; Foreign Policy Faulted in Survey

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

More than one-third of American Muslims believe that the U.S. war on terrorism is really a war on Islam, according to survey information released yesterday by researchers at Georgetown University.

Thirty-eight percent of American Muslims polled said they believe the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the tensions with Iran and Syria, reflect a foreign policy that is targeting Islamic countries and Muslims themselves.

An additional 33 percent of Muslims interviewed said they believe the United States is fighting a war on terrorism, and 29 percent said they were not sure.

The telephone survey of 1,846 randomly chosen Muslims was conducted in August and September by Zogby International for the Project on Muslims in the American Public Square, a project run out of Georgetown's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

The poll follows up a study conducted two months after the September 11 attacks, which found that 67 percent of American Muslims believed that the United States was fighting a war on terror. An additional 18 percent of Muslims said the U.S. war was against Islam, and 16 percent said they were not sure.

Survey director Zahid Bukhari said that negative comments about Islam since 2001 by evangelical Christian leaders such as the Revs. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham, and the White House's close association with these leaders, has added to the perception of a war on Islam, despite President Bush's remarks that Islam is a religion of peace.

Still, Mr. Bukhari said, American Muslims are considering this issue more carefully than their religious counterparts in the Middle East, where most consider the United States to be waging a war against Islam. …