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One in five Americans would strip Muslims of their right to vote

29th Jun 2018
One in five Americans would strip Muslims of their right to vote

(Image: Democracy Fund Voter Study Group)

Harun Nasrullah

One in five Americans would deny Muslim Americans the right to vote, and many would support a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, according to a new study.

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group also found Americans believe that many Muslims in the US are not “American” enough.

The study titled ‘Muslims in America: Public Perceptions in the Trump Era’ also found Americans also see little difference between Muslims from other countries and Muslim Americans, “suggesting that ‘Americanness’ alone does not lead to more positive views.”

Furthermore, Americans view many Muslims in the US as insufficiently ‘American’ according to a study by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group.

Perceptions split dramatically down party lines, with Democrats believing that more than two-thirds of Muslims wanted to fit in, while Republicans believed only 36 per cent did.

Overall, respondents believed only 51 per cent of Muslim Americans respect American ideals and laws, and only 56 per cent want to fit in.

The report blamed the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election for the heightened negative perception of Muslims.

“The 2016 presidential campaign and the first year of the Trump administration brought a renewed focus on Muslim populations both inside and outside the United States. As a candidate, President Trump suggested that large numbers of Syrian refugees were terrorists and falsely claimed that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered the Sept. 11 attacks. He proposed a national database to register Muslims, enhanced surveillance of mosques in the United States, and a ban on Muslims entering the United States”

While the survey found major partisan lines in how people responded, Republicans and Democrats agreed on three perceptions: Muslims tend to be religious, have outdated views of women and outdated views of gay people.

Muslims were ranked the lowest of any demographic group – just behind feminists, with a score of 48 – on a favorability scale in which respondents rated various demographic groups on a scale of 0 to 100. Muslims also consistently ranked more unfavourably than Christians among Americans, with many Americans believing Muslims have outdated views of women and gay people

Author of the report and Research Director of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, John Sides, said: “In this report, we document a wide gap between what most Americans say about Muslims living in the United States and how Muslim Americans see themselves.”

Sides, who is also an Associate Professor of Political Science at the George Washington University, observed, “This gap is accompanied by substantial support for policies targeting Muslims; nearly one in five Americans would even deny Muslims who are US citizens the right to vote. With the Muslim share of the US population projected to double by 2050, the civil rights and liberties of Muslim Americans appear to have a tenuous status in American public opinion.”

“This paper highlights the misperceptions that fuel Islamophobia,” said Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. “Muslims have been part of America since its inception and are just as likely to be patriotic as non-Muslims, yet many Americans believe Muslim Americans are not ‘fully American.’ These misperceptions hurt not only Muslim Americans but all Americans.”

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