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Origin-group differences in the 2007 and 2011 Pew Polls of U.S. Muslims: Reactions to the War on Terrorism


This study compared opinions relating to the war on terrorism for six origin-groups in the 2007 and 2011 Pew polls of U.S Muslims (each poll ~1000 participants). Origin-groups included Muslims born in Iran, Pakistan, other South Asian countries, Arab countries, and sub-Saharan African countries, as well as African-American Muslims. Opinions changed little from 2007 to 2011 except for a massive increase in presidential approval (Obama vs. Bush).  In each origin-group, nearly half of respondents continued to believe the U.S. war on terrorism is not a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism, but approval of al-Qaida and suicide bombing in defense of Islam was less than ten percent. Within these general similarities two groups stood out. Iran-born were older and less religious than other groups but had opinions similar to other U.S. Muslims. African-American Muslims reported lower education and income than other groups and were generally most negative about living as Muslims in the United States. Experience of discrimination did not predict opinion of al-Qaida or suicide bombing, nor were converts more extreme. Discussion emphasizes the need to understand why many U.S. Muslims are negative toward the war on terrorism and why a very few persist in radical opinions approving al-Qaida and suicide bombing.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Fajmonova, Veronika, and Clark McCauley. “Origin-group differences in the 2007 and 2011 Pew Polls of U.S. Muslims: Reactions to the War on Terrorism,” Final Report to the Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. College Park, MD: START, 2017.

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