Poll: Muslims, Evangelicals have similar views

Despite having a faith tradition different to the predominant Christian traditions in the United States, Muslim Americans share much in common with other US religious groups, including white evangelical Protestants, a new study has found.

“Although Muslims constitute a small minority in the United States, and their holy book and many of their religious rituals are distinctly their own, Muslim Americans are by no means ‘the other’ when it comes to religious life or politics in the United States,” said the study’s authors, Robert Ruby and Greg Smith of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“In many ways”, say the two researchers, “[Muslim Americans] stand out not so much for their differences as for their similarities with other religious groups.”

The Pew study – “How Muslims Compare With Other Religious Americans” – found that though Muslim Americans generally tend to be more politically liberal than white evangelical Christians, the two groups share similar conservative positions on a number of social issues, including that of homosexuality.

Some 61 percent of Muslims and 63 percent of white evangelicals agreed that “homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged by society”. By contrast, only 36 percent of white “mainline” Protestants and 31 percent of Roman Catholics agreed with this statement.

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