Some U.S. Mus­lims back sui­cide at­tacks

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Jen­nifer Harper

The­first­na­tion­widesur­vey­ofMus­lim Amer­i­cans re­vealed that more than a quar­ter of those younger than 30 say sui­cide bomb­ings to de­fend Is­la­mare­jus­ti­fied,afact­thatdrowned out the poll’s kin­der, gen­tler find­ings sug­gest­ing that the com­mu­nity is main­stream and mid­dle class.

“There are trou­ble spots,” noted Andrew Ko­hut, di­rec­tor of the Pew Re­search Cen­ter, which con­ducted the sur­vey of 1,050 adult Mus­lim Amer­i­cans — two-thirds of whom were­for­eign-born—Jan­uary­toApril. The re­sults were re­leased on May 22.

“We should be dis­turbed that 26 per­centofthe­sey­oung­peo­ple­sup­port an ide­ol­ogy in which the ends jus­tify the means,” said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, chair­manoftheAri­zona-basedAmer­i­can Is­lamic Fo­rum for Democ­racy.

“But the sur­vey also found that only 40 per­cent of the over­all Amer­i­can Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion would even ad­mit that Arabs were be­hind 9/11. They’re in de­nial, re­fus­ing to take

moral re­spon­si­bil­ity, and the rad­i­cals will feed on this,” Dr. Jasser said.

Farid Sen­zai of the In­sti­tute for So­cial Pol­icy and Un­der­stand­ing said he had “con­cern” about ev­i­dence of youth­ful rad­i­cal­ism.

The reve­la­tion that some young Amer­i­can Mus­lims con­done vi­o­lent bomb­ings led cov­er­age from CBS News, the As­so­ci­ated Press, Reuters, the Detroit Free Press, the Los An­ge­les Times and other news or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“I’m not sur­prised that the press picked up on the bad news, be­cause that’s what sells. I’d like to see an­other eth­nic group get asked the same ques­tion,” said Laila Al-Qatami of the Wash­ing­ton-based Amer­i­can-Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee.

“What’s also miss­ing were re­sponses about what it means among Mus­lims to be an Amer­i­can, or their opin­ions about ed­u­ca­tion, health care and do­mes­tic is­sues. Fail­ure to in­clude this stuff lends an im­pres­sion that Amer­i­can Mus­lims are dif­fer­ent,” she added.

The sur­vey, which es­ti­mates the U.S. Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion to be 2.3 mil­lion, em­pha­sized the more pos­i­tive find­ings, billing the group as “mid­dle class and mostly main­stream,” so­cially as­sim­i­lated and happy.

“Clearly, this pub­lic comes across as much more mod­er­ate than much of the Mus­lim pub­lic in most of the world. They are de­cid­edly Amer­i­can in out­look,” Mr. Ko­hut said.

In­deed, seven out of 10 of the re­spon­dents rated their com­mu­ni­ties as good or ex­cel­lent and said they would get ahead through the “Amer­i­can work ethic,” a greater per­cent­age than found in the gen­eral pub­lic. Seventy-three per­cent have never been dis­crim­i­nated against as a Mus­lim on th­ese shores, and 78 per­cent said they were ei­ther “pretty happy” or “very happy” with their lives.

Prac­tic­ing their re­li­gion was a pos­i­tive as well: 74 per­cent said they were sat­is­fied with the qual­ity of mosques in their neigh­bor­hood. Most iden­tify them­selves as Democrats (63 per­cent) and seven out of 10 voted for Sen. John Kerry, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat, in the 2004 pres­i­den­tial race. Sixty-one per­cent say ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity should be dis­cour­aged.

Yet many are trou­bled by pol­i­tics or pol­icy: 69 per­cent dis­ap­prove of Pres­i­dent Bush, 75 per­cent dis­ap­prove of the Iraq war and 48 per­cent dis­ap­prove of the war in Afghanistan. Only 26 per­cent say the war on ter­ror­ism is a “sin­cere ef­fort,” com­pared with 67 per­cent of the gen­eral pub­lic.

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