Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Most Muslims are moderate

"Our tradition leaves no place and no justification for suicide bombings," said Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi, the leader of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights.

"I think that if other Americans read this stuff they'll say, 'Wow, and they are right next door." Elahi said. "But I am 17 years in this country and I haven't faced any young individuals who say it is OK in Islam to have a suicide bomb and to support suicide bombings."

American Muslims, the survey showed, reject extremism by greater numbers than Muslims in the Middle East, South Asia or Europe, according to the Pew survey. Fewer than half of American Muslims think of themselves as Muslims first, and Americans second.

"Clearly, this public comes across as much more moderate than much of the Muslim public in most of the world," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. "They are decidedly American in outlook -- 72 percent say hard work can get you ahead in the society, and that is even a larger segment than the general public in the United States."

American Muslim views diverged from the mainstream, however, when questioned about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Forty percent said they believe Arabs were responsible. The remainder either didn't respond, weren't sure or said they were not responsible.

"I think it is a little like the O.J. Simpson case," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan. "Minority groups are defensive of their own and at times shocked that one of their own would commit heinous crimes."(MORE)

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