Poll: Muslims Say U.S. Foreign Policy Led to Terrorist Attacks
WASHINGTON (RNS)--Seventy-nine percent of Muslims in this country say United States foreign policy led to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and 67 percent say that changing policy in the Middle East is the best way to wage war against terrorism, according to a poll released Dec. 19.
Scholars in charge of the American Muslim Poll say they are surprised that so many Muslims see U.S. foreign policy as a root cause of terrorism.
"It is troubling," said Sulayman Nyang, co-director of Muslims In American Public Square, a project aimed at tracking Muslim-American opinions, beliefs and demographics.
"This is strong sentiment among Muslims, there seems to be some kind of disconnect there, that Muslims seem to believe this so clearly in such large numbers" Nyang said.
The same poll said that despite their feelings about the attacks and their causes, half of U.S. Muslims support the war. But that percentage is much lower than most polls of the U.S. population as a whole which show 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans back the war in Afghanistan.
"Before the bombing occurred, Muslims would say going in after bin Laden is one thing, bombing in Afghanistan is another. Many were concerned about the repercussions of that bombing in terms of leveling that country even more," said John Esposito, director of Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
The first-of-its-kind poll of 1,781 Muslim adults was conducted by ZogbyInternational. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.