American views of Islam sharply divided

.- Roughly four-in-ten Americans (39%) say they have a favorable impression of Islam, while about as many (37%) say they have an unfavorable view.

The balance of opinion has not changed substantially in the past year (39% favorable in July 2003). But there are significant differences of opinion among religious groups, with white Evangelical Protestants having a much more negative view of Islam than white Catholics, Mainline Protestants or secular Americans.

In a new poll, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, Americans were asked if Islam is more likely to encourage violence, how many Muslims are anti-American, and whether the Islamic religion is more likely to encourage violence among its believers.

The results of the poll, released Thursday, September 09, 2004, can be found online at


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