A new poll taken by Muslim interests says members of the belief system as a group have faith in the honesty of American elections and they by an overwhelming 93 percent majority say they are loyal to the U.S. And the results claim that while they face a lot of discrimination, they are tolerant of others.
Then the poll reveals what Muslims believe the U.S. must do to make them feel more a part of America.
But where's their opinion about Shariah law in the United States, and just exactly what do they think the Quran says about "infidels?" And why does a "poll" tell the U.S. government and its citizens what they should be doing?
Those are questions being raised by critics of a new poll done by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center under the direction of center director Dalia Mogahed.
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Mogahed has been identified by Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah during a recent speech in Toronto as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in a position to influence President Barack Obama's policy.
Jihad Watch founder Robert Spencer said the survey needed to go much further to be of benefit.
"They asked questions Muslims are sure to understand what they need to give as the answer to present the best front possible," Spencer said. "But they don't get to the heart of the matter on whether they want Shariah in the United States ultimately. That's not to say they would get honest answers if they did ask those questions.
"In any case, they're not asking the right questions to start with. They're asking questions that are tailored to give the picture of a Muslim community that is much more moderate than it really is," Spencer said.
The poll, assembled by the Gallup research hub based in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, a hub that is a partnership between Gallup and the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, said it "explores questions of Muslim Americans' political, social, and spiritual engagement."
It explains that 83 percent of the Muslim American respondents view the U.S. effort to stamp out the source of terrorism in Iraq as wrong, while 47 percent say it was wrong to respond with troops in Afghanistan to try to eradicate the terror threat there.
Two-thirds say America's unpopularity in majority-Muslim countries can be blamed on American actions and 92 percent say they do not sympathize with al-Qaida.
Further, 93 percent of Muslims see Muslim Americans as loyal to their country, but they also believe they often are the victims of "intolerance" even while they are "among the most tolerant of U.S. faith groups studied."
"Muslim Americans who attend religious services at least once a week have higher levels of civic engagement and report less stress and anger than do other U.S. Muslims who attend religious services less frequently," the study reported. "This raises the possibility of community leaders using mosques as a mobilizing platform to push Muslim Americans toward greater civic engagement."
It also referenced the fact Muslims have a sense of an improving economic situation.
But that is "totally irrelevant," said Spencer. "The question itself proceeds from the assumption that poverty causes terrorism. Thus, if the Muslims in the United States are not poor, then they're going to be moderate.
"We've seen again and again that there is no connection between poverty and terrorism. Actually jihadi terrorists are actually wealthier than their counterparts and better educated," he said.
"We saw that with doctors doing jihad at the Glasgow airport in Scotland. We've seen that many jihadis around the world have high education levels," he said.
Spencer pointed out that the motivation for most Muslims answering the call to jihad is what they believe.
"They are doing this based on their ideology, their belief system. Because the center behind this poll can't face that ideology or belief system, they swallow this line that not only has it never been proven, but repeatedly disproven that poverty causes terrorism," Spencer said.
"They trumpet the relative affluence of the Muslim community in America as if it tells us something about terrorism when it actually tells us exactly nothing," Spencer said.
Listen to the Spencer interview:
The survey also reports Muslims living in the United States oppose violent attacks against civilians.
"To that end, it is worth noting that Muslim Americans are the least likely of all major religions in the U.S. to justify individuals or small groups attacking civilians. Eighty-nine percent of Muslim Americans say there is never a justification for such attacks, compared with 79 percent of Mormon Americans, 75 percent of Jewish Americans, and 71 percent of Protestant and Catholic Americans," the survey said.
The survey also said Muslims in the U. S. don't support groups like al-Qaida.
"U.S. Muslims are also the most likely (92 percent) of the major religious groups studied to say that Muslims who live in America have no sympathy for al-Qaida. Majorities of those in the other U.S. faith groups share this view, though a significant minority of U.S. Protestants and Catholics (33 percent) and Mormons (31 percent) do not dismiss the possibility that Muslim Americans harbor some sympathy for al-Qaida," the survey reported.
"Jewish Americans are the least likely religious group, after Muslim
Americans, to believe that Muslim Americans sympathize with al-Qaida. Although U.S. Jews and Muslims often have sharply divided views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and some of the most outspoken critics of the Muslim American community are prominent Jewish Americans, most Jewish Americans seem to have shrugged off these views. Seventy percent say they do not believe Muslims in the U.S. sympathize with al-Qaida," the survey also said.
The poll also reveals Muslims strongly believe in a two-state solution in the Middle East and records that a large number of Jewish Americans seem to favor a two-state solution.
Spencer says the while those results bring no surprises, the two-state solution will never solve Israel's terrorism problem.
"It's significant but we have to understand that the two-state solution is not going to end the conflict in the Middle East or bring peace to Israel any more than Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza in 2005," Spencer said.
"It was supposed to usher in a great era of peace, but the reality is much different. I said it then that the withdrawal from Gaza would only lead to the creation of a jihad base against Israel and that's exactly what happened," Spencer said.
"The Palestinian state will only herald the creation of another jihad base that will be the foundation ... from which to attack Israel," Spencer said.
"So the people who support a two-state solution are either naïve and don't understand the jihad ideology. No Palestinian group has ever recognized Israel or ever will," Spencer said.
Further, the "poll" tells the government of the U.S. it should "expand its report on anti-Semitism to include Islamophobia," and "track reports of discrimination against U.S. Muslims in a similar manner to reports of discrimination based on anti-Semitism."
The Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice also should "raise awareness, particularly within Muslim-American communities, of the procedures required to file a complaint," and "local and state police as well as the FBI should launch a national strategy to address the challenges in community-law enforcement relations."
The "recommendations" from the "poll" also note that the government should "engage and leverage Muslim Americans' expertise in the nation's foreign policy."
"As the most culturally diverse religious community in America, significant minorities of the Muslim-American community may not only speak multiple languages but may have also traveled, worked, and conducted research and business globally," the poll instructs. "Such experiences and expertise should be more widely drawn upon in forming global policy."
The poll continues with its instructions, then, for "civil society."
Despite reports that mosques in the U.S. are lending financial support to radical Islam, the poll calls for more.
"Islamic centers and mosques have emerged as important institutions in Muslim Americans' spiritual, social, and political engagement. The Muslim-American community would do well to invest in building the capacity of these institutions."
There also should be a direct campaign to teach Americans about Islam, it said.
"To help bridge the divide, civil society leaders should consider making the following investments and changes:
- "Increase grants for journalists and educators taking university educational programs on Islam and Muslim societies.
- "Monitor media coverage of Islam and Muslims, evaluating the volume of news, how that news is framed, and the sources reporters use.
- "Treat Muslim religious identity and Muslim-American identity as mutually reinforcing, not competing, concepts.
The study was released in English and Arabic.
Mogahed's biography on the center's website says she was appointed by Obama in 2009 to the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
WND reported that while serving on that council, Mogahed said in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press that Osama bin Laden was more like Che Guevara than a Muslim leader.
"In a bin Laden speech, if you take out the introduction where he blesses the prophet, and the end where he says 'as-salaam aleikum,' you've got Che; you've got any revolutionary," Mogahed said in the interview.
The WND report goes on to document that Mogahed regularly tries to make radical Muslims look moderate.
Mogahed told an interviewer that fatwas calling for the death of accused apostates such as Salman Rushdie are nothing more than the "equivalent to a doctor's medical opinion," and Muslims are free to get a second opinion if they like.
She said then that even the phrase "Muslim religious leaders" can be misleading. Since Islam is nothing more or less than what is in the Quran, Mogahed said, "We don't have a clergy. What we have are scholars, just like professors at a university. There isn't a body that decides a correct opinion."
But the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported in April 2010 that Mogahed claimed to have been the major influence on Obama's Cairo Islamic dialogue speech.
"Few American Islamists receive the kind of glowing media coverage given to Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, who is sometimes described as the 'most influential person' shaping the Obama administration's Middle East message," the IPT report said.
Mogahed's other activities include testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. engagement with Muslim communities, and she is also on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council.
She was also a participant in the U. S.-Muslim Engagement Project with Madeleine Albright and Dennis Ross. WND reported that this was the controversial panel that also included Richard Land, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
The Abu Dhabi center's staff of experts includes Sofia Kluch, Ahmed Younis, Mohamed Younis, Nicole Naurath, Ken Kluch, Ghassan Khoury and Mogahed's 2008 co-author of Gallup's 2008 study, "Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think," John Esposito.
Spencer said he believes the duo's record of questionable conclusions in the 2008 study should make everyone wary of the 2011 version.
"Mogahed and Esposito in their 2008 book represented as moderate people [those] who hate America and thought that we deserved 9/11," Spencer said. "I don't trust this study any more than I trusted that one."
The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center did not respond to WND's request for comment on the study.