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Reuters survey shows 37 percent of American adults have a “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of Islam

Respondents overall had an equally unfavorable view of atheism at 38 percent, compared with 21 percent for Hinduism

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  • Respondents overall had an equally unfavorable view of atheism at 38 percent, compared with 21 percent for Hinduism
  • The race for the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election has put a spotlight on Americans’ views of Muslims 
  • The poll shows 78 percent of Trump supporters and 36 percent of Clinton supporters said that Islam was more likely to encourage acts of terrorism

NEW YORK – Many Americans view Islam unfavorably, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are more than twice as likely to view the religion negatively as those backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll of more than 7,000 Americans.

It shows that 37 percent of American adults have a “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of Islam. This includes 58 percent of Trump supporters and 24 percent of Clinton supporters, a contrast largely mirrored by the breakdown between Republicans and Democrats.

By comparison, respondents overall had an equally unfavorable view of atheism at 38 percent, compared with 21 percent for Hinduism, 16 percent for Judaism and 8 percent for Christianity.

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Spokespeople for Trump and Clinton declined to comment.

The poll took place before an attacker on Thursday drove his truck into a holiday crowd in Nice, France, killing more than 80 people in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act. Police sources said the driver, while linked to common crimes, was not on a watch list of intelligence services and no Islamist militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The race for the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election has put a spotlight on Americans’ views of Muslims with Trump proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. He repeated the proposal after Omar Mateen, a New York-born Muslim armed with an assault rifle, killed 49 people in an attack on a Florida gay nightclub last month.

The ideological divide between Trump and Clinton supporters is set against a backdrop of increasing violence and discrimination against Muslims in the United States.

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Texas lawmaker to Muslims: “Publicly announce allegiance to America” Image Source: cbsnews.com

The poll shows 78 percent of Trump supporters and 36 percent of Clinton supporters said that when compared to other religions, Islam was more likely to encourage acts of terrorism. Trump supporters were also about twice as likely as Clinton supporters to say that Islam was more encouraging of violence toward Americans, women and gay people. Polling on none of the other belief systems and their perceived connection to terrorism or violence came close to matching those numbers.

Clinton has called for a more inclusive environment within American society and for a joint effort between the U.S. government and Muslim countries to battle the spread of Islamist militancy.

She has criticized Trump’s harsh statements about Muslims and Mexicans while Trump has bemoaned what he calls American society’s devotion to political correctness.

TRUMP, REPUBLICANS ALIGNED

Party affiliation accounted for the deepest division among Americans where their views on Muslims were concerned. Respondents’ status as rich or poor, young or old, or male or female did not offer as pronounced an overall view as did their identification as Democrats or Republicans.

“If it was true that Trump did not represent Republicans broadly defined, you would think Republicans would look different; they don’t,” said Douglas McAdam, a sociology professor at Stanford University who studies American politics.

“It goes against the claims of the (former presidential candidate) Mitt Romneys of the world, that Trump is not really a Republican, that he doesn’t represent the Republican party. He seems to be resonating with Republicans generally.”

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, attacks on American Muslims and on mosques in the United States rose in 2015 to their highest level ever recorded.

The group said 31 incidents of damage or destruction of mosques were reported; there were 11 incidents in which a Muslim person was the target of a slur or another kind of harassment.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll ran in all 50 states from June 14 to July 6. It included 7,473 American adults and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 1 percentage point.(Reuters-Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Howard Goller)

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Hundreds Of Afghan Civilians Were Displaced Due To IS

Families in the province left their houses to escape violence from militants.

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Afghan National Army troops prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017.
Afghan National Army troops prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017. voa

In the last few weeks, at least 160 families have been displaced in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province by Islamic State attacks and fighting between U.S.-backed Afghan government forces and various militant groups.

More than 400 families have been displaced in the province in the past 10 months.

Families in the province say they left their houses to escape violence from militants.

“It’s been a few days that the IS militants have re-emerged, and a new round of firefighting has started. We had no choice but to seek refuge in deserts, under the government-controlled areas,” Khan Mohammad, a displaced man, told VOA.

Two hundred and fifty of the displaced families are from Nangarhar’s restive Pachir Wa Agam district where IS militants are active and fighting Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents over territory control.

IS militants attacked the Pachir Wa Agam district, destroyed many homes and captured more than two dozen local men last December, according to Afghan officials.

The district came under heavy airstrikes when the U.S. entered Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaida and the Taliban beginning in late 2001.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor of Nangarhar’s spokesperson, downplayed the IS threat but confirmed a recent displacement of 160 families within Deh Bala district of the province.

“The reasons for displacement of these families are the current special military operation against IS militants,” he added.

An internally displaced Afghan woman who fled from recent conflict cooks bread outside a shelter in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017.
An internally displaced Afghan woman who fled from recent conflict cooks bread outside a shelter in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2017. VOA

IS Reemergence

Afghan joint forces drove IS extremists out of the Pachir Wa Agam district in Nangarhar last December, and then hundreds of local men joined the central government’s security forces to help ensure that IS radicals cannot return to the area.

The Afghan Defense Ministry talked down any “serious” IS threat in the area, asserting that militants are trying to terrify unarmed locals at the behest of regional intelligence agencies. General Mohammad Radmanish told VOA that multiple military operations are under way in eastern Nangarhar province to remove remaining IS fighters.

“We will boost these military operations to provide security and wipe out the traitors. We are also starting to venture the new strategy and improvise our local army units once the areas are cleared,” Radmanish added.

During the past three years, more than 14,000 families were displaced internally in Nangarhad and only 8,000 of them have returned to their houses, Afghan authorities said.

Also read: Summary trials have no place in Afghan laws Behrooz Jahanya

Joint U.S. and Afghan forces’ air and land operations killed at least 100 IS militants in the province, Afghan authorities said Tuesday. (VOA)