An organization called "Muslims For A Safe America" conducted a unscientific but nonetheless interesting opinion survey at its booth in the Islamic Society of North America's convention in early September. In all, 307 American citizens attending this Islamist event replied to 30 questions. I have rearranged the order of the questions and excluded some. We begin with the denial and conspiracy theory section:
5. Did Muslims hijack planes and fly them into buildings on 9/11?
6. Did the U.S. government have advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, and allow the attacks to occur?
7. Did the U.S. government organize the 9/11 attacks?
8. Are the tapes of Osama Bin Laden, claiming responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and threatening future attacks, real or fake?
9. Did Muslims commit the July 2005 train and bus bombings in London?
10. The Canadian government says it stopped a plot by Canadian Muslims in June 2006 to attack targets in Canada. Do you believe there was a real plot by Muslims?
11. The British government says it stopped a plot by British Muslims in August 2006 to bomb planes flying to America. Do you believe there was a real plot by Muslims?
12. Is Al Qaeda a real organization, operated by Muslims who are trying to attack America?
Comment: These replies point to an outlook consonant with opinion in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority areas. Living in the United States, clearly, hardly affects their conspiracist mentality.
Second, what about the means that the U.S. authorities use to protect the country?
15. Is it justifiable for the U.S. government to do any of the following in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks in America:
a. taking religion and ethnicity into account as one factor when deciding whom to interview and search at airports?
b. monitoring activities at American mosques?
c. listening to phone calls of people in America whom the government claims are connected in some way with Al Qaeda?
d. having an informer pretend to support or encourage violence against America, to see if the targeted Muslims will decide to attack American targets?
e. monitoring Muslim charities in America, in the hopes of preventing funding for possible terrorist attacks?
f. focusing Immigration & Customs Enforcement resources on deporting Muslim illegal aliens, who have not been convicted of terrorism, in the hopes of disrupting possible Al Qaeda attacks?
g. allowing Muslim illegal aliens to stay in America if they agree to work as informants, monitoring the Muslim community for the government?
h. torturing suspected Al Qaeda members to get information about possible planned attacks?
Comment: Overwhelmingly, American Islamists want to prevent Americans from using just about any means for self-defense, suggesting where their sympathies lie.
Third, some key foreign policy issues:
21. Should Iran develop nuclear weapons?
22. Should America attack Iran to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons?
23. Was America justified in invading Iraq in 2003?
24. Should American troops leave Iraq immediately, or stay there until the Iraqi government and Iraqi military are stronger?
Leave now 199
Leave later 86
25. Was America justified in invading Afghanistan after 9/11?
26. Is violence by Muslims against American civilians acceptable, in retaliation for the American government's actions in the Muslim world?
27. Is violence by Muslims against the American military overseas acceptable, in retaliation for the American government's actions in the Muslim world?
28. Is violence by Muslims against the American military in the U.S. acceptable, in retaliation for the American government's actions in the Muslim world?
29. Is violence by Muslims against American government officials acceptable, in retaliation for the American government's actions in the Muslim world?
3. Is the American government at war with the religion of Islam?
Comment: As in the second section, these views closely track ones found in the Middle East. Living in the United States and American citizenship have little or no effect on views.
Fourth, an all-important question about counterterrorism:
30. If you learned about a plot by Muslims to attack targets inside America, would you tell law enforcement authorities?
Comment: 24 percent of the respondents won't commit to stopping terrorism. By comparison, surveys of the whole British Muslim population (not just self-selected Islamists, as in this survey) find between 5 and 18 percent unwilling to help law enforcement prevent attacks.
Fifth and final section:
2. Do you consider yourself to be a Muslim first, an American first, or both equally?
Muslim first 214
American first 4
Both equally 86
4. Can a good Muslim be a good American?
Comment: In the context of all the survey answers, with their profoundly negative views of the United States these replies suggest that being "a good American" is a virtually meaningless phrase to respondents. (September 9, 2006)