COLUMBUS, Ohio – Instead of calming fears, the death of Osama bin Laden actually led more Americans to feel threatened by Muslims living in the United States, according to a new nationwide survey.
In the weeks following the U.S. military campaign that killed bin Laden, the head of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, American attitudes toward Muslim Americans took a significant negative shift, results showed.
Americans found Muslims living in the United States more threatening after bin Laden’s death, positive perceptions of Muslims plummeted, and those surveyed were less likely to oppose restrictions on Muslim Americans’ civil liberties.
For example, in the weeks before bin Laden’s death, nearly half of respondents described Muslim Americans as “trustworthy” and “peaceful.” But only one-third of Americans agreed with these positive terms after the killing.
Most of the changes in attitude happened among political liberals and moderates, whose views shifted to become more like those of conservatives, the survey found. (More)