Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Nearly half of 600 Muslim-American citizens polled who plan to vote in the 2012 presidential election believe parodies of Muhammad should be prosecuted criminally in the U.S., and one in eight say the offense is so serious violators should face the death penalty.
The results came in a groundbreaking scientific poll for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. It was taken Oct. 22-26 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percentage points.
The poll also found 40 percent of Muslims in America believe they should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution, but by Shariah standards.
And the big winner among Muslim-Americans in the presidential election is Barack Obama, the poll found. More than 72 percent said they are definitely supporting Obama, and another 8.5 percent are leaning that direction. Only 11 percent are for Romney.
Nearly 55 percent of the American Muslim voters say the U.S. is on the right track, and another 13 percent are uncertain. Virtually all of the respondents (98 percent) are American citizens and 97 percent are registered to vote.
“Almost half of those Muslims surveyed – an astonishing 46 percent – said they believe those Americans who offer criticism or parodies of Islam should face criminal charges,” said pollster Fritz Wenzel in an analysis of the survey’s results.
“Even more shocking: One in eight respondents said they think those Americans who criticize or parody Islam should face the death penalty, while another nine percent said they were unsure on the question,” he said.
Wenzel said even the 9 percent “undecided” on that particular question is alarming.
“Seldom in survey research does a response of ‘not sure’ carry such significance, but the response to this question certainly is a surprise, given the severity of the question, and offers insight into the conflict that some Muslims appear to face in making the ideals under-girding American society fit into their religious lifestyle,” he said.
Wenzel’s poll said 7.2 percent of the respondents said they “strongly agree” with the idea of execution for those who parody Islam, and another 4.3 percent said they somewhat agree.
While 80 percent said that they somewhat or strongly disagree with the idea, when those who said they were not sure are added, one in five Muslims across America cannot say they believe Christians or others who criticize Muhammad should be spared the death penalty.
More Muslim women (10.4 percent) than Muslim men (4.9 percent) said they strongly agree with the idea, while 12.4 percent of the women and 7.1 percent of the men were uncertain about the issue involving Muhammad.
Four in 10 said Muslims in America should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution, but by Islamic Shariah law.
“A much smaller percentage said they think the U.S. should establish an entirely separate court system to adjudicate matters involving Muslims,” Wenzel said.
While the respondents overwhelmingly lean toward the Democratic Party and like the direction Barack Obama, who repeatedly has praised Islam around the world, is leading this nation, they also have a fundamental conflict with American life, expressing objections to the freedom of speech and religion guaranteed in the Constitution.
American Muslims, Wenzel said, “show signs of ambivalence toward the U.S. Constitution generally and the First Amendment specifically.”
“These survey findings show a community in conflict with the foundations of our nation, as many Muslims favor and enjoy the freedoms offered by the U.S. Constitution, including participation in elections here, but at the same time significant percentages want to be treated differently than the average non-Muslim when it comes to legal matters,” he said.
“While 39 percent of Muslims said they believe existing U.S. courts should consult Shariah law when adjudicating cases involving Muslims, a plurality of 45 percent said they do not agree with this idea. Asked if the U.S. should establish separate courts based solely on Shariah law to adjudicate cases involving Muslim, 21 percent said it should. Two-thirds of respondents – 66 percent – said that separate courts are not necessary to adjudicate Muslims.”
While 9 of 10 of the Muslim respondents said they agree with the First Amendment, they are also in conflict with it, Wenzel said, citing evidence in answers to “another question in the survey which found that one-third of Muslims – 32 percent – believe Shariah should be the supreme law of the land in the United States,” Wenzel said.
“Another shocking finding from the survey is how Muslims view the religious freedoms of Christians. Asked whether U.S. citizens who are Christians have the right to evangelize Muslims to consider other faiths, just 30 percent agreed Christians have such a right. Another 42 percent said they do not have such a right, while 28 percent said they were unsure on the question.”
One in five say Muslim men should be allowed to follow their religion in America and have more than one wife, and 58 percent said criticism of their religion or of Muhammad should not be allowed under the Constitution.
While 43 percent said they disagreed with the idea of Christians evangelizing Muslims, another 27 percent said they were undecided. Only 19 percent said they “strongly agree” with the idea that Americans have a right to invite Muslims to consider another faith.
Nearly one in three said Israel either has no right to exist or they were uncertain whether it does.
Robert Spencer, author of “Stealth Jihad” and “Did Muhammad Ever Exist?,” told WND the survey is a “disquieting indication that Muslims in the U.S. support Shariah blasphemy laws and want to bring them to the U.S.”
“This should not surprise anyone,” he said. “There is no reason to believe that Muslims in the U.S. believe in a different form of Islam from that which prevails everywhere else. But it underscores the need for Americans to defend, forthrightly and without apology, the freedom of speech, as it is increasingly embattled today, and to revive and enact anti-Shariah laws nationwide.”
Spencer has authored 12 books on Islam and has led seminars about jihad for the United States Central Command, United States Army Command, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and others.
Pamela Geller, author of ”Stop the Islamization of America” and a WND columnist, said: “Restrictions on free speech are part of Shariah. This poll does nothing but show that Muslims in this country adhere to Shariah in large numbers. What is surprising is that the percentage of those who oppose free speech isn’t higher. But probably many of the respondents already know better than to say what they really think to non-Muslim pollsters.”
Walid Shoebat, who “used to be a radicalized Muslim willing to die for the cause of jihad” before he adopted Christianity in 1994, was a member of the PLO and was recruited to plant a bomb in Bethlehem. The author of ”God’s War on Terror” told WND it is not right that Muslims have a “double standard.”
He said to be fair, any Muslim who “says the Bible is corrupt or the Christians corrupted the Bible” should be penalized in the way they want to punish Christians who mock or ridicule Muhammad.
“The world should appreciate the way the West deals with hurt feelings,” he said, citing America’s rejection of a single individual who recently wanted to make an issue of burning a Quran.
“[Muslims] should be demonstrating how great America is,” he said. “They should be saying, ‘Allah bless America.’”
The Pew Research Center estimates America is home to some 2.6 million Muslims.
See the results:
- Do you think that things in the United States are, generally speaking, heading in the right direction, or would you say things are off on the wrong track?
- Are you a citizen of the United States?
- (Asked only to non-citizens) Which of the following best describes your situation?
- Are you registered to vote in America?
- If the election for president of the United States was today, and the candidates were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mmitt Romney, for whom would you vote?
- If the U.S. Constitution and Shariah law are in conflict in any way, which should a Muslim follow?
- Do you believe Muslim men living in American should be permitted to follow their religious right to marry more than one woman?
- Do you believe that criticism of Islam or Muhammad should be permitted under the Constitution’s First Amendment?
- Generally speaking, do you agree or disagree with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which grants religious freedom and freedom of speech to all Americans?
- Do you agree or disagree that, in your opinion, Shariah law should be the supreme law of the land in the U.S.
- Do you agree or disagree that Shariah law should be considered by U.S. courts when adjudicating cases involving Muslims?
- Do you agree or disagree that legal cases involving Muslims should be adjudicated in a separate court system using Shariah law?
- Do you agree or disagree that U.S. citizens have a right to evangelize Muslims to consider other faiths?
- Do you agree or disagree that those who criticize or parody Islam in the U.S. should face criminal charges?
- Do you agree or disagree that Americans who criticize or parody Islam should be put to death?
- Do you agree or disagree that Israel has a right to exist as a legitimate sovereign state?