(RNS) A survey of American Muslims shows mixed opinions about controversial stem cell research, the Council on American-Islamic Relations reports.

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

"I think it's such a complex issue that perhaps people have a hard time deciding what the Islamic viewpoint on it should be," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR. "I think it probably needs more input from scholars."

President Bush recently decided to permit limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The studies are controversial because while some scientists say they could lead to treatments for an array of diseases, critics oppose them because they involve destruction of human embryos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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