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Poll: American Jews and Muslims share common values

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NEW YORK (JTA) — Muslim and Jewish Americans share common values on key questions, according to a Gallup poll.

The poll, released Tuesday, found that the Muslim Americans exceeded Jewish belief in religious pluralism and in the fairness of elections, and also in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — 81 percent for Muslims, 78 percent for Jews.

Jews and Muslims also were the only religious groups surveyed in which a majority backed President Obama.

Jews were the least likely group, besides Muslims, to question the loyalty of Muslims, with 70 percent of Jewish Americans denying that Muslim Americans sympathize with the al-Qaeda terrorist group and 80 percent agreeing that Muslims are loyal to the United States. They disagreed, however, on whether Muslims spoke out enough against terrorism, with 28 percent of Muslims and 65 percent of Jews saying that Muslims were not vocal enough. The 65 percent put Jews in the middle of the religious groups surveyed.

Interestingly, Jewish respondents were slightly more likely than Muslims to believe that Muslims face prejudice in American society.

The poll included results from the Gallup Heathways Well-being index conducted from Jan. 1, 2010 to  April 9, 2011, as well as two independent studies of the Muslim-American population conducted  from Feb. 10 to March 11, 2010 and Oct. 1-21, 2010, by a Gallup-affiliated research group based in the United Arab Emirates. According to researchers, the poll had a margin of error of 6.6 percent for Muslims and 7.3 percent for Jews.

The study also found that Muslims were the least likely religious group to agree that there is ever justification for individuals or small groups to attack civilians, that the generation that came of age post-9/11 are more likely to report feelings of anger than their peers, but that anger is reported less among those that regularly attend religious services.

“As children of Abraham, Jews and Muslims recognize that we don’t just share a common faith but also a single fate,” Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an organization devoted to outreach between the Jewish community and other ethnic groups, said in an interview with JTA.

"People will be overwhelmed by these findings. The perception is that the Muslim Jewish relationship in the U.S. is one of conflict, not of cooperation. This is just the opposite of what we’ve found in the field.”

 

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