Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
from The Great Debate:
(Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the summer of 2006, a Gallup poll of more than 1,000 Americans found that one out of four favoured forcing Muslims in the United States, including U.S. citizens, to carry special identification. About a third said Muslims living in the U.S. sympathized with al Qaeda.
Almost a quarter said they wouldn't want a Muslim as a neighbour. Republicans, the poll said, saw Muslims in a more negative light than Democrats and independents, and were more opposed to having Muslim neighbours. Fewer than half those polled thought U.S. Muslims were loyal to the United States.
A few months after the poll, callers to a Washington area radio talk show suggested branding Muslims with crescent-shaped tattoos and special stamps in their identity papers, the better to spot potential terrorists.
Polls are snapshots of attitudes, and attitudes can change. But incidents during the U.S. presidential election campaign, now in its final sprint towards November 4, show that fear and suspicion of Muslims persist undiminished and are being used as a political weapon.