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Poll: Alabamians distrust Muslims
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 07/07/02 | SEAN REILLY

Posted on 07/07/2002 4:51:35 PM PDT by scratchgolfer

Poll: Alabamians distrust Muslims

07/07/02

By SEAN REILLY Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Last September's terrorist attacks didn't just topple the World Trade Center and kill thousands. They also left bitter feelings about Muslims, and the enmity appears to be more severe in Alabama than the nation as a whole.

Fewer than one in five Alabamians has a favorable view of the world's second-largest religion, a percentage far below the national average, according to the latest University of South Alabama-Mobile Register poll.

At the same time, more than one-third of the respondents said they believed that Islam's teachings encourage terrorism and violence -- even though the overwhelming majority admitted they don't know much about those teachings.

"Apparently, we have a long road ahead of us," said Shafik Hammami, president of the Islamic Society of Mobile. Since Sept. 11, Hammami said that he and other mosque leaders have responded to more than a dozen invitations to speak on Islam at area churches and synagogues. While those appearances have been well received, he said, knowledge of Islam remains "terribly weak."

Indeed, almost three-quarters of those responding to the statewide USA survey said they did not have "a good basic understanding" of Islam. More encouraging from the Muslim perspective, perhaps, is that an even larger percentage said that it is at least "somewhat important" for Americans to learn more.

Most Muslim leaders were quick to voice horror at the Sept. 11 attacks. Some liken the terrorists' use of Islam to justify murder as being similar to the Ku Klux Klan's reliance on Christianity to trade on racism.

Now that Islam's best-known representative is Osama bin Laden, however, it's no easy task to explain that the essence of Islam is peace and submission to God's will. Nor is there any consensus within the mainstream Muslim community on how to get the word out.

Ronald Ali, imam of the Mobile Masjid of al-Islam mosque, attributed the USA poll results to negative portrayals of Muslims in the media. Rather than making special efforts to explain their faith, Muslims should teach by personal example, Ali said.

"We just live our religion as good Americans," he said, "and let people see us as we are."

But numerically, Muslims comprise a tiny percentage of Alabama's population, making it unlikely that most people will encounter them often enough to form an impression.

"You need to do both," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. "You need to have upright conduct and also reach out to people of other faiths."

Neither Ali nor Hammami knew of any local instances of harassment of Muslims after Sept. 11. But Hammami said he had encountered hostility from members of evangelical churches "bent on destroying the image of Islam for some reason."

Like other Southern states, Alabama has a high proportion of evangelicals. Two-thirds of respondents to the USA poll described themselves as born-again Christians.

Last month, the Rev. Jerry Vines, a former Mobile pastor and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told participants at the SBC's annual meeting in St. Louis that the prophet Mohammed was a "demon-possessed pedophile."

"That kind of message does not help," Hammami said. "It puts a barrier between religions rather than trying to promote religious understanding."

For people of all faiths, the carnage of the Sept. 11 attacks produced at least a temporary rush for spiritual solace across the nation. Many pastors reported a spike in church attendance in the weeks afterward. Attendance levels have reportedly since fallen back to normal levels.

The USA-Register survey results appeared to reflect that backsliding. More than half of those polled said the nation as a whole has become more religious. Only 16 percent said their own attendance at religious services had increased.

"I think the perspective of ourselves as a nation has changed, but in terms of our actual behavior it doesn't appear from this self-report that it made a whole lot of difference," said Keith Nicholls, a USA political science professor and head of the USA Polling Group.

But several local clergymen said the attacks have produced changes less easy to quantify.

At St. Peter Baptist Church in Mobile, the Rev. Cleveland McFarland Jr. said he has seen a lasting increase in church attendance, as well as signs of "better understanding and tolerance."

In regard to Muslims, McFarland added, church members "seem to understand that it is not just the Islamic world or religion. It is really the overzealous action of some radical thinking people."

At the Congregation Ahavas Chesed, a conservative Jewish synagogue in Mobile, "we did have increased attendance at a variety of functions," said Rabbi Steven Silberman. Although there has since been a dropoff, Silberman said, some congregation members are more likely to attend services before and after a trip. In addition, he said, "there seems to be a greater awareness of not taking family and friends for granted."

One should not expect people to be instantly and permanently transformed, said the Rev. Edwin Beachum, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Mobile. Instead, Beachum said, individuals may go through many conversion experiences over time.

"Maybe this is a beginning," Beachum said. "Maybe most people won't change, but maybe a few will. Maybe they're going to become more loving parents, more concerned citizens. And, you know, if one person changes, one person is a whole lot."

The telephone poll of 418 adult Alabamians was taken between June 25 and July 1. USA Polling Group, which conducted the survey, put the margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. This means there is a 95 percent probability that the results are within 5 percentage points of the results that would have been obtained from a survey of all adult residents of Alabama.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 07/07/2002 4:51:35 PM PDT by scratchgolfer
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To: scratchgolfer
Good for the fine folks of Alabama!
2 posted on 07/07/2002 4:52:12 PM PDT by neutrino
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This article is from the Mobile Register not the AJC.
3 posted on 07/07/2002 4:56:28 PM PDT by scratchgolfer
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: scratchgolfer
Now that Islam's best-known representative is Osama bin Laden, however, it's no easy task to explain that the essence of Islam is peace and submission to God's will.

Peace of the grave is about what it will be.

5 posted on 07/07/2002 5:16:50 PM PDT by dts32041
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To: scratchgolfer
"...said Ibrahim Hooper...."

Who is either a liar or an ignoramous, as he claimed Aishe was "eighteen or nineteen" when Muhammad married her. Rather she was 6 when they wed and 9 when the then 52 year old "prophet" copulated with her. It's in the Hadith, where the obviously conflicted girl is even quoted, as well as other post-quranic literature.

6 posted on 07/07/2002 5:26:36 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: dts32041
Now that Islam's best-known representative is Osama bin Laden, however, it's no easy task to explain that the essence of Islam is peace and submission to God's will.

Osama Bin Laden is the best known representative of religious conservatism in general. Remember that Osama does not represent all Muslims, only the most fanatical Muslim fundamentalists. Liberal and moderate Muslims think he's a freak.

7 posted on 07/07/2002 5:27:58 PM PDT by Ubonic
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To: scratchgolfer
"Apparently, we have a long road ahead of us," said Shafik Hammami, president of the Islamic Society of Mobile.

Apparently they do. But the work needs to be done by urging fellow Muslims to stop sympathizing and supporting terror -- not by preaching to Americans about being more tolerant.

8 posted on 07/07/2002 5:27:58 PM PDT by Maceman
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To: scratchgolfer
What???? They dont trust muslims? Bush should send them off to re-education camps at once.
9 posted on 07/07/2002 5:29:56 PM PDT by cynicom
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To: Ubonic
Osama Bin Laden is the best known representative of religious conservatism in general. Remember that Osama does not represent all Muslims, only the most fanatical Muslim fundamentalists. Liberal and moderate Muslims think he's a freak.

Based on your Freeper profile, I wouldn't expect anything different from you. But on what are you basing your assertion? Kiss.

10 posted on 07/07/2002 5:30:13 PM PDT by Maceman
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To: scratchgolfer
Alabamians distrust Muslims

So does everybody else except California, Florida, and Dearbornistan.

11 posted on 07/07/2002 5:33:34 PM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
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To: Ubonic
Osama Bin Laden is the best known representative of religious conservatism in general.

Only a leftist asshole would deign to make such a ridiculous statement. Know anybody who fits that description?

12 posted on 07/07/2002 5:35:27 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: Rattlesnake Jake
While I am an Alabamian, I wasn't polled. I think halfway hidden in this report is the assumption by big media editors that most Alabamians are a bunch of slack-jawed yokels only a generation removed from cross-burnings and lynchings. But my fellow Alabamians aren't so stupid. Anyone who wants to can investigate Islam for all it's worth, and they're bound to see what an agressive, warlike dictator Mohammed was. Moreover, if you're a Christian, as so many of my fellow Yellowhammers are, it's hard to go against, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Also, I'm sorry, but I just don't remember hearing of many Muslim clerics decrying the 9/11 attacks. Can someone enlighten me what I may have missed?

13 posted on 07/07/2002 5:42:56 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: jwalsh07
There are plenty of them. As Will Rogers said, "There are a lot more 'orses asses than there are 'orses".
14 posted on 07/07/2002 5:48:22 PM PDT by meenie
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To: Alas Babylon!
Also, I'm sorry, but I just don't remember hearing of many Muslim clerics decrying the 9/11 attacks.

Muslim clerics have been outright rationalizing it. They all give the same one-liner "condemnation" followed by a ten-minute rant on the evils of American foreign policy, then make calls for "understanding their desperate situation and poverty".

15 posted on 07/07/2002 5:50:44 PM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
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To: scratchgolfer
It would be foolish of Americans not to be suspicious of Muslims since it is only Muslims who, at this point, have declared open war on us. There are too many Muslims in America, citizens and visitors, who openly despise us and preach killing us. To single out the Alabamians as suspicious of Muslims is absurd.
16 posted on 07/07/2002 5:58:33 PM PDT by WaterDragon
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To: scratchgolfer
Poll: Alabamians distrust Muslims

Alabama: Another part of the Sane States of America.
(along with Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and some others...)
17 posted on 07/07/2002 6:02:32 PM PDT by VOA
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To: scratchgolfer
Last month, the Rev. Jerry Vines, a former Mobile pastor and past president of the
Southern Baptist Convention, told participants at the SBC's annual meeting in
St. Louis that the prophet Mohammed was a "demon-possessed pedophile."

"That kind of message does not help," Hammami said. "It puts a barrier between religions
rather than trying to promote religious understanding."


Sounds like Hammami has been to the Bill Clinton School of Public Speaking and Spin.

Never said if Vines allegation is true or false...
(Which the Caner brothers, Saudi Muslims converted to Christianity, say it is true...)
18 posted on 07/07/2002 6:05:17 PM PDT by VOA
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To: scratchgolfer
No shi'ite!
19 posted on 07/07/2002 6:13:44 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: jwalsh07
Osama Bin Laden is the best known representative of religious conservatism in general.

Only a leftist asshole would deign to make such a ridiculous statement. Know anybody who fits that description?

Yes, little(and I mean miniscule)Tommy Daschle

20 posted on 07/07/2002 6:16:06 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity
Yes, but us backward, snuff dippin', redneck, country bumpkin, relative marrying, dumber than a brick Alabamians just distrust them just a little more.
21 posted on 07/07/2002 6:23:08 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: Alas Babylon!
I'm in Texas and havn't been polled either, perhaps Alabama was the only one with the nerve to authorize such a poll. Good for them.
22 posted on 07/07/2002 6:27:04 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: Rattlesnake Jake
Seems like the good folks of Alabama have their instincts honed perfectly. Maybe I'll move there.

Sounds OK to me, I am moving there tomorrow. See you there. Alabama seems to be a perfect state for a dejected Ca conservative.

23 posted on 07/07/2002 6:30:22 PM PDT by KC_for_Freedom
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To: VOA
Don't forget Mississippi. We even kept our flag intact.
24 posted on 07/07/2002 6:33:51 PM PDT by Have Ruck - Will Travel
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To: Ubonic
Osama Bin Laden is the best known representative of religious conservatism in general. Remember that Osama does not represent all Muslims, only the most fanatical Muslim fundamentalists. Liberal and moderate Muslims think he's a freak.

If thats so,why isnt there an American flag on every US Mosque? How about a United We Stand bumper sticker on US Muslims cars? How about the deafening silence out the US and World Muslim camp condemning unequivocally the violence? Islam sucks and I dont care what anyone thinks of me for saying that.

25 posted on 07/07/2002 6:34:52 PM PDT by cardinal4
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To: lwoodham
Actually, Alabama has been misportrayed for years as being backward and a holdout on the Old South. Nothing is farther from the truth. The current Alabama is diverse with many many people from all over the world. One of my best friends and workmates is Egyption, several other workmates are from China, United Araab Emorates, and Pakistan.

Alabama is filled with high tech companies, research scientists, engineers, the best hospitals with the leading edge doctors and surgeons. People here will still speak to you on the street. They are friendly and most will help others in real need. Alabama is now a great place to live...

..and, gone is the Old South.
26 posted on 07/07/2002 6:36:15 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: KC_for_Freedom
Where are you moving to?
27 posted on 07/07/2002 6:37:37 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: scratchgolfer
This makes me sick.

Osama blows up New York and these guys prostilitize on that.

28 posted on 07/07/2002 6:39:59 PM PDT by ChadGore
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To: lwoodham
The last time I was in Andalusia and Opp I didn't see any PC crapola and the loss of Dixie.
29 posted on 07/07/2002 6:46:02 PM PDT by roachie
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To: roachie
Lol, That's north Florida, not Alabama.
30 posted on 07/07/2002 6:47:54 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: neutrino
I guess people from Alabama still have some self preservation instinct left.
31 posted on 07/07/2002 6:49:23 PM PDT by Righty1
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To: scratchgolfer
What's so special about Alabama on this issue? Don't the good people of the other 49 states feel the same way?

This is yet another Muslim propaganda piece, attempting to do its drip-drip-drip of manipulation by playing the prejudice/guilt-trip card.

32 posted on 07/07/2002 6:50:36 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Righty1
Hey, we got it going on down here, and the cost of living is way way low.
33 posted on 07/07/2002 6:50:50 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Certainly not Californicatia.
34 posted on 07/07/2002 6:55:26 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: scratchgolfer
Once again the "loving" Moslems are desperate to set themselves up as the victims. The good people of Alabama know that Islam just plain sucks.
35 posted on 07/07/2002 6:57:31 PM PDT by TJFLSTRAT
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To: lwoodham
Florida? Them's fightin' words! ;)
36 posted on 07/07/2002 6:58:11 PM PDT by roachie
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To: TJFLSTRAT
Tell it brother. Tell it all. Halleluia. Amen.
37 posted on 07/07/2002 6:59:11 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: roachie
Lol, thought you'd be glad that I redrew the state line to give you Opp and Andulusia.
38 posted on 07/07/2002 7:00:36 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: lwoodham
Don't tell anyone or it will get ruined like NV.
39 posted on 07/07/2002 7:01:11 PM PDT by Righty1
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To: lwoodham
Nah, I'd prefer them to not be in Texas :) That's the whole point of getting out of this wet and soggy swampy part to go on holiday ;)
40 posted on 07/07/2002 7:06:42 PM PDT by roachie
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To: Righty1
Don't tell anyone or it will get ruined like NV.

Yep, guess you are right. I was just kidding all. Alabama is a bad place to live. Yes, 97% of the population is on drugs and snuff. 103% of the population has AIDS and Bubonic Plague, 97% are parolees, and 92% have been indicted for capital murder. To top it off 109% are Auburn graduates. Summing up, you should not, I repeat should not move to Alabama.

41 posted on 07/07/2002 7:07:18 PM PDT by lwoodham
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Exactly!!! Because so much of the civil rights struggle was fought in Alabama, the Sheeple have the idea that most white Alabamians are racist. Think Bull Conner and George Wallace. So much has changed, but unless you come down here and see it yourself, you'd never know it from what Hollywierd and the big media types put out.

So leak this story about Alabamians being more "intolerant", and you'll achieve your goal of making the Sheeple feel racist for distrusting foreign Muslims living in the USA, because then they'd be thinking like those George Wallace types from that backwards state, Alabama.

42 posted on 07/07/2002 7:07:25 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity
Dearbornistan

Word of the Day!

43 posted on 07/07/2002 7:18:30 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: KC_for_Freedom
>Sounds OK to me, I am moving there tomorrow. See you there. Alabama seems to be a perfect state for a dejected Ca conservative<

Come on down, bring your hidden SKS and get your pistol permit. Ya know that part about"The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed"? well, we believe that here. Along with the rest of it. No where does it say anything about "if the current government will let you"!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lee308

44 posted on 07/07/2002 7:24:07 PM PDT by Lee308
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To: Alas Babylon!
War Eagle! You just reminded me of when my future husband and I stood at Toomer's corner and watched George Wallace campaign for his first run for Governor. The college crowd was hooting and hollering and laughing at him. I think most of us were pulling for DeGraffenreid. I couldn't believe Wallace actually won.
45 posted on 07/07/2002 7:29:42 PM PDT by AUsome Joy
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: Rattlesnake Jake
When I was at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1979 the hostages were taken in Iran. All the middle eastern students: Kuwaiti, Saudi, Pakistani...all of them started wearing placards around their necks saying:

"I'm NOT from Iran. PLEASE DON'T HURT ME!"

The Iranians just left town altogether.

47 posted on 07/07/2002 7:35:35 PM PDT by ExSoldier
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To: AUsome Joy
Naaaaw you got it wrong: It's ROOOOOLLLLL TIDE! I was there for the glory years 1978 and 1979 for back to back national championships and BEAR BRYANT. I graduated in 1980.
48 posted on 07/07/2002 7:39:01 PM PDT by ExSoldier
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: scratchgolfer
Appears to me that AL might be a tad bit smarter than NY in this particular matter.

Than again, I never particularly much minded what NY ever thought. (For example, it would take a New Yorker to figure Hillary was intelligent, much less "beatiful" as I've seen written.)
50 posted on 07/07/2002 7:48:11 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE
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