ABU DHABI -- Muslim Americans are the staunchest opponents of military attacks on civilians, compared with members of other major religious groups Gallup has studied in the United States. Seventy-eight percent of Muslim Americans say military attacks on civilians are never justified.
These findings are among the many featured in a new report released Tuesday by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future, based on Gallup surveys conducted throughout 2010. Building on Gallup's early 2009 report on America's Muslim community, Muslim Americans: A National Portrait, this analysis tracks changes since 2008, delves into current social and political research topics, and provides a series of data-driven policy recommendations.
In sharp contrast with Americans who identify themselves with other faith groups, Muslim Americans are more likely to say military attacks on civilians are never justified (78%) than sometimes justified (21%). Respondents from other faith groups, particularly Mormon Americans, are more likely to say military attacks are sometimes justified than never justified. The opinions of Americans who don't identify themselves with any religion are more in line with those of Muslim Americans, but they are also more divided.
There is wider agreement that attacks on civilians by individuals or small groups are never justified. At least 7 in 10 American adults from all major religious groups agree that these attacks are never justified, but Muslim Americans again are most opposed, with 89% rejecting such attacks.
In line with their high disapproval of the targeting and killing of civilians by individuals or small groups, 92% of Muslim Americans think that Muslims living in the U.S. do not sympathize with the al Qaeda terrorist organization.
Majorities of Americans from the other major religious groups studied also believe that Muslims in America are not sympathetic to al Qaeda, but there is a notable range of opinion -- from 56% of Protestants to 70% of Jewish Americans. Sizable minorities of U.S. Catholics (33%), Protestants (33%), and Mormons (31%) do not dismiss the possibility that Muslims Americans hold some sympathy for al Qaeda.
In addition to examining U.S. Muslim's political and social views 10 years after Sept. 11, the latest report also looks at their spiritual engagement.
About the Report
Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future is based on a nationally representative study of Muslim American perceptions and the views of other major religious groups in the U.S. The report compares trends on Americans' life evaluations over the past three years as well as probes Muslim and non-Muslim perceptions on issues of national identity, terrorism, foreign policy, religious discrimination, and political participation.
The first study of Muslim Americans was fielded via telephone to Muslim Americans and a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S. aged 18 and older. The Muslim-American sample was selected from self-identified Muslim Americans who agreed to be recontacted after participating in the Gallup nightly polling. The general population sample included landline as well as cell phone-only respondents. The survey was administered from Feb. 10, 2010-March 11, 2010, and featured a five-call design. Because of the low number of Jewish American respondents in the sample of U.S. adults, an oversample of the Jewish population was performed using recontacts from the Gallup nightly polling. The data were weighted to correct for disproportionalities in probabilities of selection and response propensities. The data were then weighted to targets for age, gender, region, race, ethnicity, and education from the U.S. Census Bureau. Final weights were applied based on self-identified religious affiliation using targets from the Gallup nightly polling. The response rate for the study was 21%.
The second study of Muslim Americans was fielded via telephone to a sample of participants from each of the major religious groups. The sample for this study was selected based on self-identified religious affiliation of those who agreed to be recontacted from the Gallup nightly polling. The study featured a five-call design and had quotas of 200 for each major religious group other than Muslims. A random sample was chosen from eligible respondents of each of the major religious groups other than Muslims, while a census was taken of Muslim-American respondents. The survey was administered from Oct. 1-21, 2010. The data were weighted to correct for disproportionalities in probabilities of selection and response propensities. The data were then weighted to targets for age, gender, region, race, ethnicity, and education from the U.S. Census Bureau. Final weights were applied based on self-identified religious affiliation using targets from the Gallup nightly polling. The response rate for the study was 34%.
Results in the report are based on the aggregation of the two Muslim American polls, yielding a total sample of 2,482 adults, of which 475 self-identified as Muslims. The data in the combined file were reweighted to ensure the data were representative of the U.S. adult population and of the major religious groups. The margin of error is calculated at the 95% confidence level and is adjusted to reflect the design effect. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.