Americans may be warming to all religious groups according to a new Pew Research Center survey, but Muslims remain ranked poorest in terms of overall U.S. favorability.
In a Feb. 2017 survey, Americans were asked to rate a variety of religious groups on a 1-100 "feeling thermometer" (with 0 as the coldest and 100 as the warmest).
In rating all major religious groups, American adults gave nearly every sect a warmer rating than they did in a June 2014 version of the same survey. Americans continue to feel warmest toward Jews and Catholics -- with 67 and 66 degree ratings respectively. As was similar in 2014, atheists and Muslims found themselves with the poorest ratings. Average American feelings toward each group did warm since 2014, though, with a rise from 41 to 50 for atheists and 40 to 48 for Muslims.
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Muslims are the fastest growing religious group in the world -- and yet most Americans say they know very little about the Islamic faith. In the wake of President Trump's original executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations -- an order which his administration is now rewriting after federal judges rejected its legality -- the new commander in chief has positioned himself as someone who intends to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and will go to great lengths to stop it.
Another February Pew survey shows that 54 percent of Americans see "not much" or "no" widespread support for extremism among Muslims living in the U.S., which is 9 points higher than the 45 percent who felt the same way in 2011.
Young people, Democrats and those who personally know someone who is Muslim are more likely to say they do not see support for extremism among Muslims in America.
The report's findings showing a steadily high rating for the Jewish community comes as Jewish cemeteries and community centers have fallen victim to a nationwide wave of vandalism and threat.
A Muslim fundraising project led by Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi called for a display of "solidarity with the Jewish-American community" after the headstones were destroyed in St. Louis. After the project received a bump from J.K. Rowling the activists reached their $20,000 goal in just three hours.
In his Congressional address on Tuesday, President Trump said all Americans are "made by the same God." As a Christian-majority American democracy built on the separation of church and state grows older, the views of its electorate toward different religious groups will likely continue to evolve -- in sync with the growth of faith-based sects themselves.