Muslims Most Disapproved Group in US, Claims University of Minnesota Study

Washington: Muslims are the most disapproved group in the US, according to a new study which also says that almost half of Americans surveyed would not want to have their children marry into this faith.

A new study from sociologists at the University of Minnesota, which analysed Americans’ perceptions of minority faith and racial groups, found that their disapproval of Muslims has almost doubled from about 26 per cent 10 years ago to 45.5 per cent in 2016.

Amid increasing focus on national security and in the wake of multiple terrorist attacks around the world, the study found that almost half of those surveyed would not want their child to marry a Muslim, compared to just 33.5 per cent of people a decade earlier.

“Religion becomes a signal and a marker, an easy shorthand for Americans’ moral judgment,” said Douglas Hartmann, an author of the study along with fellow sociologists Penny Edgell, Evan Stewart and Joseph Gerteis.

“But that is not the only thing going on with Muslims. It’s more complicated.”

The report found that anti-Muslim violence spiked after the 9/11 attacks, as did attacks on Sikh-Americans, who are often confused with Muslim Americans. “Even the generally tolerant millennials exhibit relatively strong anti-Muslim sentiments,” the report said.

Muslims have surpassed atheists to become the most disliked group in the US. Out of 2,500 respondents, 45.5 per cent said Muslims and 41.9 per cent said atheists.

A decade ago, atheists were the most unpopular group, with 39.6 per cent of people disapproving of them and 26.3 per cent disapproving of Muslims, it said.

The study was written from data collected between February 2014 and March 2016. It was published in the current issue of Social Forces journal.