- (Photo: AP/Rockford Register Star, Scott Morgan)
A new poll shows that a majority of Americans would be okay with a mosque in their community.
Sixty-nine percent of surveyed Americans agreed while 28 percent disagreed, according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, released Thursday.
Opposition mainly comes from the South where half of the rural population is against mosques in their area.
Muslims make up 0.8 to 2.6 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In recent years, particularly since the proposal of an Islamic center near the site of the September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks in New York, Muslims have been met with increasing fear and opposition to their attempts to build mosques.
The American Civil Liberties Union has documented anti-mosque activity in 21 states over the past five years.
In response to protests against mosque building in America, a group of religious figures, including a conservative evangelical, formed an interfaith coalition to vocalize support for Muslims to exercise religious freedom and the right to have places of worship.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was part of the coalition until early this year when members of his denomination asked him to withdraw.
Southern Baptists expressed concerns that Land's position was a slippery slope toward promoting Islam itself.
Land withdrew from the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, established by the Anti-Defamation League, but remains committed to defending American Muslims whose First Amendment rights are being denied. The ERLC has made clear, however, that Land is not involved in encouraging or aiding the building of mosques but rather in the legal efforts to defend their rights.
According to Thursday's poll, which was conducted March 11-13, 2011 with 1,023 people, 46 percent of all Americans have a favorable view of American Muslims today, up from 39 percent in 2002. Around a quarter of the population (26 percent) have an unfavorable view.
But fewer Americans have a favorable view of the Islamic faith itself, with only 33 percent holding such a positive view.