(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/21/2010) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that a new poll showing that more than 4 in 10 Americans admit to anti-Muslim prejudice demonstrates the need for increased educational outreach efforts by U.S. Muslims.
The survey by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, called “Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam,” also shows that almost two-thirds of Americans say they have little or no knowledge of Islam. Respondents who did not personally know a Muslim exhibited a greater level of bias.
SEE: In U.S., Religious Prejudice Stronger Against Muslims
“The Gallup poll and CAIR’s previous research on this subject clearly demonstrate that American Muslims must step up ongoing efforts to educate their fellow Americans about Islam,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
He said a 2006 CAIR survey indicated that just two percent of Americans said they were “very knowledgeable” about Islam.
SEE: American Public Opinion About Islam and Muslims (2006)
Awad noted that CAIR has undertaken a number of such educational initiatives, including its current “Explore the Quran” campaign to distribute free copies of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, to 100,000 local, state and national leaders. To date, tens of thousands of copies of the Quran have been sponsored and are being delivered to leaders nationwide.
Previous CAIR educational campaigns have included “Explore the Life of Muhammad,” which offered books and DVDs about the Prophet Muhammad to Americans of all faiths, and the “Explore Islamic Civilization and Culture” campaign that distributed materials about Islam to more than 8,000 public libraries nationwide.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com