If you listen to some of the voices heard in the last presidential campaign, you might assume that most Americans are deeply frightened -- and should be -- about the possibility that Muslims in the United States are either terrorists or in some way support violent extremism.
It's not so, at least according to this Pew Research Center study.
As the survey reports, "Most Americans do not see widespread support for extremism among Muslims living in the U.S. Overall, 40% say there is not much support for extremism among U.S. Muslims, while an additional 15% say there is none at all. About a quarter say there is a fair amount of support (24%) for extremism among U.S. Muslims; 11% say there is a great deal of support."
Not surprisingly, these figures vary when you ask self-identified Democrats or Republicans, though not by huge amounts: "Relatively few Republicans (16%) or Democrats (7%) think there is a great deal of support for extremism among U.S. Muslims, but 40% of Republicans say there is a fair amount of support, compared with just 15% of Democrats who say this."
It's also interesting to note that people who actually know Muslims feel less worried about support for extremism among them than those who have never met a Muslim: "Among those who say they personally know someone who is Muslim, 60% say there is either not much (44%) or no (16%) support for extremism among U.S. Muslims. By contrast, those who do not personally know someone who is Muslim are more divided: 48% say there is not much or no support for extremism among U.S. Muslims, while 27% say there is a fair amount and 13% say there is a great deal." Imagine that.
The last thing the U.S. needs is a climate of fear. But it also needs a solid approach to intelligence and security so that, no matter who wants to kill us, we are as safe as possible. That's a delicate balancing act. I wish I felt more confident in the Trump administration's ability to pull that off right.
(By the way, if you're in the KC area but have never met a Muslim, now's your chance. See: Download Meet us Muslims flyer word.)
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BEING A MODEL OF WELCOME
A Holocaust survivor in California now lives there with the granddaughter of Nazis, this touching Washington Post story reports. He opened up his home for the graduate student, he said, because it was the right thing to do and opposite of what Nazis would have done. Perfect.
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P.S.: Kansas City's annual AIDS Walk is coming up at the end of April, but you can help me jump start things now by donating on my fund-raising page here. All the money supports Kansas City's AIDS Service Foundation. Thanks.