The pictures of Barack Obama in African garb and the focus by wingnuts on his middle name has shown the continual fear of the Other on the part of the
February 27, 2008

The pictures of Barack Obama in African garb and the focus by wingnuts on his middle name has shown the continual fear of the Other on the part of the Republican party, with the other being Muslims. When you have people screaming that Obama will swear on the Koran instead of the Bible and Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (who did take his oath on the Koran) being asked to prove his allegiance to this country, it's clear that way too many people buy into the "Muslims are the enemy" mentality. This whole notion that all Muslims are some 7th century throwback who "hate us for our freedoms" really does show the collective dumbing down of this country.

Gallup did an extensive survey of 50,000 Muslims globally on their attitudes and values, and recently published its findings in a book called Who Speaks For Islam? Some of their findings knock out these insulting stereotypes that the administration and media keep feeding us:

The result is Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews representing 1.3 billion Muslims who reside in more than 35 nations that are predominantly Muslim or have sizable Muslim populations. Representing more than 90% of the world's Muslim community, it makes this poll the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind.

What the data reveal and the authors illuminate may surprise you:

* Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustifiable.
* Large majorities of Muslims would guarantee free speech if it were up to them to write a new constitution AND they say religious leaders should have no direct role in drafting that constitution.
* Muslims around the world say that what they LEAST admire about the West is its perceived moral decay and breakdown of traditional values - the same answers that Americans themselves give when asked this question.
* When asked about their dreams for the future, Muslims say they want better jobs and security, not conflict and violence.
* Muslims say the most important thing Westerners can do to improve relations with their societies is to change their negative views toward Muslims and respect Islam.

Hmmm....doesn't sound like the bloodthirsty savages bent on destroying this country, does it? Will this survey or its findings ever make it onto American airwaves? Nope, I don't think so either. It's so much easier to wallow in ignorance and bigotry.

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