Obama’s outreach to Muslims very important, say most Americans

April 6th, 2009 - 12:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, Apr.6 (ANI): President Barack Obama’s pledge to “seek a new way forward” with the Muslim world is an important goal, say most Americans.

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, though nearly half hold negative views about Islam and a sizable number say that even mainstream adherents to the religion encourage violence against non-Muslims, they feel it is important for Obama to try to improve U.S. relations with Muslim nations. Some have said that his outreach is “very important.”Fifty-five percent of those polled said they are without a basic understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam, while about half, (48 percent), said they have an unfavorable view of Islam, the highest in polls since late 2001.

Nearly three in 10, or 29 percent, said they see mainstream Islam as advocating violence against non-Muslims; although more, 58 percent, said it is a peaceful religion.

Muslims make up about 1 percent of all U.S. adults.

In his inaugural address, Obama extended an offer to leaders of unfriendly Muslim nations that the United States “will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Overall, nearly two-thirds said Obama, who arrived yesterday in Ankara, Turkey, will handle the diplomatic mission “about right.”

Nearly a quarter, though, said he will probably “go too far.” Nine percent said it is more likely he will not go far enough.

Nearly half of Republicans said Obama is apt to overreach in his efforts to advance U.S. relations, while large majorities of Democrats and independents said they think he will walk the right line.

Republicans are also more apt than others to hold negative attitudes toward Islam, with six in 10 having unfavorable views, compared with about four in 10 for Democrats and independents.

Among conservative Republicans, 65 percent view Islam unfavorably; liberal Democrats, in contrast, are 60 percent positive. The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone March 26-29 among a national random sample of 1,000 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. (ANI)

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