Islamophobia in the United States is not rooted in a clash of religious beliefs but is driven by politics, according to a survey focusing on Muslim Americans.
However, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)’s Islamophobia Index rose from 24 in 2018 to 28 in 2019, indicating that Muslims remain the most likely group to face discrimination for their religion.
The survey, conducted by the ISPU, noted that anti-Muslim sentiment is influenced by a host of factors, including personal and national politics and how much a person knows about Islam, but is not due to their religious affiliation.
It found that Americans who personally know a Muslim are more than twice as likely to have a positive opinion of Muslims compared to those who do not.
However, the ISPU’s Islamophobia Index rose from 24 in 2018 to 28 in 2019, indicating that Muslims remain the most likely group to face discrimination for their religion.
The index is a measure of the level of public endorsement of five negative stereotypes associated with Muslims in America – that most Muslims living in the U.S. are more prone to violence than others, that they discriminate against women, that they are hostile to the U.S., that they are less civilized than other people, and that they are partially responsible for acts of violence carried out by other Muslims.
According to the ISPU’s data, the Jewish community scored the lowest on the index at 18 while white evangelicals scored the highest at 35.
The survey also found that Americans who hold favorable views of blacks, Jews and the LGBTQ community tended to score 10 points lower on the index.
Some 33% of the Muslims surveyed were more optimistic about the direction of the country, despite being dissatisfied with U.S. President Donald Trump’s performance in office.
This may have been due in part to the survey being conducted after the first two Muslim women lawmakers, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, were elected to Congress, according to ISPU Executive Director Dalia Mogahed.
“It was against this backdrop that ISPU conducted its fourth annual 2019 poll of American faith and non-faith groups,” Mogahed said in the report, referring to Omar and Tlaib’s election to office.
A total of 2,376 Americans, including 804 Muslims and 360 Jews, were polled during the survey, which was conducted in January.