According to a Quinnipiac University poll,
54 percent of New York State voters agree "that because of American
freedom of religion, Muslims have the right to build the mosque near
Ground Zero." That strikes me as a shockingly small majority—almost
half don’t feel that “religious freedom” by definition applies to all
religions, even when the question’s put that way?—but hey, glad to hear of majority support for basic American principles, right?
not quite. Fifty-three percent of the same group agree that “because of
the sensitivities of 9/11 relatives, Muslims should not be allowed to
build the mosque near Ground Zero.” So a majority thinks that Muslims
have the same rights as everyone else, and a similar majority thinks
that in this case, those rights somehow shouldn’t apply. The 7 percent
or so who flipped between these two questions are doing some remarkable
hairsplitting: it’s not that people don’t have rights, it’s that they don’t have them right now.
71 percent agree “that because of the opposition of Ground Zero
relatives, the Muslim group should voluntarily build the mosque
somewhere else” doesn’t alarm me. I think that people should
voluntarily refrain from doing all kinds of things they have every
right to do. Most of the time they go ahead and do them. So what?
In other bizarre-Islamophobia-related-statistics news, apparently 24 percent (pdf) of Americans now think the president is a Muslim (yet another way, as Jonathan Zimmerman points out,
in which Obama’s presidency recalls Lincoln’s). I’m guessing the first
family might soon experience a change of heart about their decision not
to join and regularly attend a church.