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44% say the government should restrict Muslims' civil liberties

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041218/D871OVHG0.html In U.S., 44 Percent Say Restrict Muslims Dec 17, 9:02 PM (ET) By WILLIAM KATES ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) -
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      http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041218/D871OVHG0.html
      In U.S., 44 Percent Say Restrict Muslims

      Dec 17, 9:02 PM (ET)

      By WILLIAM KATES

      ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) - Nearly half of all Americans
      believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil
      liberties of Muslim Americans, according to a
      nationwide poll.

      The survey conducted by Cornell University also found
      that Republicans and people who described themselves
      as highly religious were more apt to support
      curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or
      people who are less religious.

      Researchers also found that respondents who paid more
      attention to television news were more likely to fear
      terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of
      Muslim Americans.

      "It's sad news. It's disturbing news. But it's not
      unpredictable," said Mahdi Bray, executive director of
      the Muslim American Society. "The nation is at war,
      even if it's not a traditional war. We just have to
      remain vigilant and continue to interface."

      The survey found 44 percent favored at least some
      restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim
      Americans. Forty-eight percent said liberties should
      not be restricted in any way.

      The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents
      supported requiring all Muslim Americans to register
      where they lived with the federal government.
      Twenty-two percent favored racial profiling to
      identify potential terrorist threats. And 29 percent
      thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim
      civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on
      their activities and fund-raising.

      Cornell student researchers questioned 715 people in
      the nationwide telephone poll conducted this fall. The
      margin of error was 3.6 percentage points.

      James Shanahan, an associate professor of
      communications who helped organize the survey, said
      the results indicate "the need for continued dialogue
      about issues of civil liberties" in a time of war.

      While researchers said they were not surprised by the
      overall level of support for curtailing civil
      liberties, they were startled by the correlation with
      religion and exposure to television news.

      "We need to explore why these two very important
      channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than
      understanding," Shanahan said.

      According to the survey, 37 percent believe a
      terrorist attack in the United States is still likely
      within the next 12 months. In a similar poll conducted
      by Cornell in November 2002, that number stood at 90
      percent.

      ---

      On the Net:

      Cornell University:
      www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Dec04/Muslim.Poll.bpf.html

      Muslim American Society: www.masnet.org
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