The park 51 mosque anti muslim attitudes in america
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The Park 51 Mosque & Anti-Muslim Attitudes in America. Kassra Oskooii University of Washington, Political Science Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity & Race. Muslims & Mosques in Focus. 28% of the American public believe religious Muslims are sympathetic to al‐Qaeda

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The Park 51 Mosque & Anti-Muslim Attitudes in America

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The park 51 mosque anti muslim attitudes in america

The Park 51 Mosque & Anti-Muslim Attitudes in America

Kassra Oskooii

University of Washington, Political Science

Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity & Race


Muslims mosques in focus

Muslims & Mosques in Focus

  • 28% of the American public believe religious Muslims are sympathetic to al‐Qaeda

  • 31% say they would never allow a mosque in their neighborhood (CNN Poll, 2011).

  • Peter King (R-NY) held a congressional hearings on the “Radicalization” of Muslim Americans this month.

    • “Over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams. Certainly from what I've seen and dealings I've had, that number seems accurate.” (Jan 25, 2011)


Park51 opposition

Park51 Opposition

“Four out of five mosques preach hate and preach incitement to violence.” (Pamela Geller, 2010)

Park51 is “an assertion of Islamist triumphalism,” part of “an Islamist cultural‐political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” (Newt Gingrich, 2010)

"I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America" the nation will become "a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists. (Newt Gingrich, 2011)


Research question

Research Question

What causes Americans to hold negative attitudes towards Muslim Americans?

Is it just the same as attitudes towards other minority outgroups, or is there a unique “Islam” attitude at play?


Theory building muslim americans

Theory building: Muslim Americans

  • Muslims are associated with racial/religious and cultural minorities.

  • General out‐group antipathy towards minorities predicts negative feelings towards Muslims (Kalkan, Layman, and Uslaner, 2009).

  • However, American attitudes towards Muslims are not longstanding

  • Characterized as developing, strengthening, and at the same time quite shallow (Panagopoulos, 2006).


Room for improvement

Room for improvement?

Previous ANES data only had one feeling thermometer question about “Muslims” (not even Muslim Americans)

We agree that some general outgroup resentment also applies to Muslims…. However….

We argue that Islam-specific variables do matter, and provide additional specific insight into anti‐Muslim attitudes, moving beyond a sole focus on broad out‐group measures.

Our focus is on attitudes towards the Mosque, and builds on Said’s Orientalism in the American context


Data methods

Data & Methods

  • A statewide survey of registered voters in Washington state.

    • N= 1,000

    • Field dates, October 4 – 28, 2010

    • Telephone interviews with live callers, targeting a mix of landline and cellphone-only households.

    • Survey was 30 minutes in length

    • Covered general political content and had items on minority groups


Data methods1

Data & Methods

  • Rely on ordered logit regression

  • Dependent variables are categorical ordered outcomes ranging from 0 – 4 (5 points)

  • Not continuous enough for OLS

  • Proportional odds assumption, equal distance relationship between response variable categories

  • Logit coefficients can not be interpreted like OLS, so instead we will transform to predicted probabilities


Key variables

Key Variables

Approve Neither Disapprove

Str - - - Some Some - - - Str

Allowing an Islamic cultural center, also known 22% - - - 16% - - - - - 12% - - - - - 12% - - - 38%

as the Ground Zero Mosque to be built a few (0) (1) (2) (3) (4)

blocks from the site of the September eleventh

terrorist attacks in New York City

Disgree Neither Agree

Str - - - Some Some - - - Str

Mosques in the United States encourage 44% - - - 19% - - - - - 20% - - - - - 11% - - - 5%

Muslims to be hostile towards non-Muslims (0) (1) (2) (3) (4)

Favorable Neither Unfavorable

Str - - - Some Some - - - Str

What is your overall opinion of Muslim Americans 16% - - - 43% - - - - - 23% - - - - - 14% - - - 4%

(0) (1) (2) (3) (4)


Key variables1

Key Variables

Other Key Measures

  • Sidanius & Pratto’s 8-item index of social dominance

  • Anti-immigrant attitudes: “immigrants do not speak English or follow American values.” (agree/disagree)

    Control Variables

  • Support of the Tea Party

  • Sarah Palin Favorability

  • Degree of trust of Fox News

  • Churh attendance, born-again status

  • Ideology, Party identification

  • Standard SES and demographic items


The park 51 mosque anti muslim attitudes in america

Predicted probability of strongly opposing Park 51, given movement in each independent variable, holding all other variables in model at their mean (estimated in Stata using Long & Freese SPOST package)


The park 51 mosque anti muslim attitudes in america

Predicted probability of strongly opposing Park 51, given movement in each independent variable, holding all other variables in model at their mean (estimated in Stata using Long & Freese SPOST package)


Muslim favorability

Muslim Favorability

.735

.285


Muslim favorability1

Muslim Favorability

.735

soc dom

.285


Muslim favorability2

Muslim Favorability

.735

anti-imm

soc dom

.285


The park 51 mosque anti muslim attitudes in america

Predicted probability of disagreeing that mosques encourage hostility, given movement in each independent variable, holding all other variables in model at their mean (estimated in Stata using Long & Freese SPOST package)


Concluding remarks

Concluding Remarks

  • Park 51 controversy, as well as the King Hearings demonstrate a significant split in public opinion towards and about Muslims

  • What factors are driving this?

  • While some traditional outgroup hostility variables are predictive

  • We offer a preliminary assessment of a new Islam-specific variable that is very relevant

  • More work is needed theorizing how anti-Muslim attitudes are formed, and if these attitudes are unique?

  • And this should be tested across a national sample


Thank you

Thank You


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