The debate over the community center/mosque in New York has often overshadowed the real issue for many people opposed to it — are Muslims a threat to America?
National Public Radio this afternoon is looking at a different mosque, and finding the more naked sentiment.
“We’re Christians and this religion represents people that are against Christians. That’s something we need to look at, you know, because you’re going to have a lot of trouble down the line,” Fletcher says.
He says he does not know exactly what trouble looks like, but he and others worry about terrorist links and Muslims wanting to impose Sharia law.
Saleh Sbenaty, an engineering professor from Syria and a leader of the growing Muslim congregation, has lived in Tennessee for three decades, but he says he’s never seen this level of Islamaphobia.
“All of the sudden now…there is a movement against Islam and Muslims,” Sbenaty says. “We did not see that immediately after 9/11. And all of the sudden now it is part of politics and it is like…’I can get more votes if I can bash Islam more, Muslim[s] more.'”
Clearly, for many people there’s more involved here than “sensitivity” to the victims of 9/11. A new poll from The Economist makes it difficult to reach any other conclusion.
In the same poll, only 50.2% of those surveyed believe there is a Constitutional right for a Muslim organization to build a mosque/community center two blocks from the World Trade Center. Not surprisingly, the less education the respondent had, the more likely they were to hold that opinion. The Midwest and South was also more likely to have the opinion than the rest of the nation. And only 50.2% of Democrats held the view that there is a constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. (topline data)
Coincidentally — or perhaps not — forty-three percent of those surveyed said they know “little” or “nothing at all” about Islam.