(RNS) A survey of American Muslims shows mixed opinions aboutcontroversial stem cell research, the Council on American-IslamicRelations reports.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they opposed the use ofstem cells from human embryos in medical research, while 35 percent saidthey supported their use and 29 percent said they had no opinion.

"I think it's such a complex issue that perhaps people have a hardtime deciding what the Islamic viewpoint on it should be," said IbrahimHooper, spokesman for CAIR. "I think it probably needs more input fromscholars."

President Bush recently decided to permit limited federal funding ofembryonic stem cell research. The studies are controversial becausewhile some scientists say they could lead to treatments for an array ofdiseases, critics oppose them because they involve destruction of humanembryos.

The survey by the Islamic advocacy group addressed a range of othermatters, from politics to social issues.

Ninety percent of respondents said the United States should attendthe United Nations World Conference Against Racism, which will be heldfrom Aug. 31 to Sept. 7 in Durban, South Africa.

Eighty-one percent of respondents said they oppose human cloningwhile 67 percent favored school vouchers.

Respondents were split on their views of Bush's faith-basedinitiative. Thirty-six percent said it would benefit Muslims and 38percent said it would be discriminatory.

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being biased against Muslims and 10being biased in their favor, 81 percent of American Muslim respondentsrated the president's domestic policies as 5 or less.

Forty-two percent said the U.S. media have improved their coverageof Muslims and Islam.

The survey was based on responses from Muslims from 44 states andthe District of Columbia. Surveys were e-mailed and faxed to Muslimindividuals and organizations across the country in early August andsome responses were received via the advocacy group's Web site.-- Adelle M. Banks
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