Representing the opinions of more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide, Muslim Affairs Advisor for the Obama administration, Dalia Mogahed, who is also senior analyst and executive director for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, leads the analysis of Gallup’s unprecedented survey which includes Muslims in the West.
Engaging diverse groups, Mogahed travels the globe holding discussions on what Muslims around the world really think. Her audiences range from High-Level Group of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, British Parliaments and American senators to religious leaders from every faith.
A 1000 person survey was conducted late last year, which was prompted partly by President Obama’s outreach to Muslim-majority societies, and a desire to understand more about what shapes America’s views on Muslims. As a member of President Obama’s faith-based initiatives advisory panel, Dalia Mogahed stated that the survey “gives leaders information to make better decisions and that is what Gallop has done for 70 years.”
In a recent interview with C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Mogahed discussed the findings on America’s view of Muslims and Islam. The findings of the survey conducted late last year were recently released, and according to Ms Mogahed, approximately 53% don’t have any prejudice against Muslims. Based on the questions asked in the survey, more Americans are against Islam itself rather than Muslims as a group. In fact, as opposed to the boisterous voice of right wing media, only 9% of Americans have a serious prejudice against Muslims. In the Gallup poll, respondents who said they feel “a great deal” of prejudice toward Jews were very likely to report feeling the same level of bias toward Muslims.
Mogahed also discussed in her interview the steady pattern of negative media coverage and the influence it has regarding Islam and Muslims, such as militant extremists –whose practice is neither the way of Islam nor that of Muslims– routinely put forth as representatives of Islam instead of traditional Muslims. In a note accompanying the poll results, Gallup makes the argument that Americans’ prejudice against Muslims is at least partly fueled by misinformed beliefs. For example, people who believe Muslims worldwide oppose equal rights for men and women tend to be much more likely to report prejudice against Muslims.
Dalia Mogahed is the co-author of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.