Rasmussen: Most Americans Think Radical Militants Don’t Represent Islam

Do most Muslims worldwide see America as an enemy? According to the results of a Rasmussen survey published on Thursday, many Americans don’t think so, nor do they think Americans believe most Muslims are a threat.

However, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that religious leaders within Islam need to do a better job at emphasizing the peaceful teachings of their religion — religious leaders who are often left out of news coverage.

According to Rasmussen, 39 percent of likely U.S. voters believe that most Muslims around the world view America as an enemy. This number is down two percentage points from the same poll taken in July 2014, despite recent terrorist activity in Paris.

However, a notable 24 percent of respondents said they are not sure. So while many people believe Muslims worldwide do not view the U.S. as an enemy, they don’t yet make up a plurality of voters. Around the same number of respondents believe Americans view most Muslims as a potential threat (37%) or are not sure what to think (22%).

Voters are mostly in agreement (75%) that no matter what Americans think of Muslims or what Muslims think of America, Islamic clerics and leaders need to do a better job at promoting the peaceful teachings of their faith.

Rasmussen found that 24 percent of Americans believe that the terrorists behind the Paris attacks represent the true teachings of Islam. Further, only 16 percent think the Taliban in Afghanistan represents the Islamic faith, and 27 percent think that of the Islamic State.

This suggests that most people believe Islam just has a serious image problem and leaders within the religion need to correct that. However, the question that needs to be asked is, is the mainstream media giving Islamic clerics and leaders an opportunity to do this?

Mainstream media outlets like CNN refuse to show the cartoon caricatures of the prophet Mohammad, and some people accuse them of being politically correct toward Islam. Yet the only images we ever see of the Middle East or the Islamic world are radical militants or Muslims burning American flags or when incidents like the Charlie Hebdo shooting happen.

The only representation Islam has in the media are groups like the Taliban or al-Qaida or the Islamic State. It should come as no surprise that approximately one-fifth to a quarter of Americans don’t know what to think of Muslims around the world.

So, is there more the media could do to draw attention to the non-radical majority in the Islamic faith? Yes. The realm of public discourse is full of loud talking heads who are given megaphones by the mainstream media. It might be good to give this side of Islam a megaphone of its own.

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