The issue of banning Muslims and expanding America’s existing wall along the Mexican border to deal with illegal immigration remains a contentious political issue in the election campaigns for president this year, but most Americans do not support imposing special restrictions on immigrants and specifically on Muslims. But a new poll by the PEW Research center is flawed and fails to measure American attitudes towards “Arabs,” which embraces a whole different level of ignorance and stereotypes
By Ray Hanania
The good news is that most Americans surveyed in a recent poll by the PEW Research Center do not support restrictions on Muslims in America, as advocated by several of the Republican candidates for president.
But the PEW Poll makes a predictable error when it fails to measure how the same audience views “Arabs.”
“Arabs” are more associated with the Middle East while “Muslims” are associated more with religious freedom. The vast majority of Muslims in the world and right here in America are not Arab and represent nationalities that have been embraced by this country. Arabs, on the other hand, continue to be the focus of discrimination and Muslim Arabs are discriminated against more than any other ethnic group.
It’s a standard that is difficult to measure, especially since America and the U.S. Census refuse to measure the presence and roles of Arabs and Muslims in this country. Not including references to Arabs and Muslims among the dozens of other ethnic and racial groups identified helps to keep Arabs and especially Arab Muslims away from the “table” where government and societal decisions are often made without Arab or Arab Muslim input.
The PEW survey found that the views of the public towards Muslims varies depending on the political candidates they support.
Voters who support Republican frontrunner Donald Trump tend to support more restrictions on Muslims and immigrants, according to the PEW Survey, while voters who support Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders tend to oppose those restrictions.
Here are some highlights of the report on the issue of Muslims:
- 33 percent of all people surveyed by PEW support restrictions and more scrutiny of Muslims, while 61 percent believe Muslims should not be subjected to more scrutiny.
- 53 percent of Republican voters support more scrutiny while only 17 percent of Democrats support more scrutiny.
- 64 percent of Trump supporters support more scrutiny of Muslims.
- 53 percent of supporters of Senator Ted Cruz support more scrutiny of Muslims.
- 37 percent of supporters of Gov. John Kasich support more scrutiny of Muslims.
- 22 percent of supporters of Hillary Clinton support more scrutiny of Muslims.
- 12 percent of Sanders supporters support more scrutiny of Muslims.
The survey was conducted between March 17 and March 27. PEW officials said that interestingly, the survey results did not seem to be impacted by the suicide bombings that killed 35 people (including 3 suicide bombers) and wounded 300 more civilians in Brussels, Belgium on March 22.
To read the full PEW Survey, click here.
Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. He began writing in 1975 publishing The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues as Special US Correspondent for the Arab News ArabNews.com, at TheArabDailyNews.com, and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday, the Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronical, and Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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