With Pete King set to kick off his hearings into the radicalization of Muslims tomorrow, Pew Research comes through with a new poll providing some invaluable public opinion context.
In particular, Pew finds that the only group to think Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence are conservative Repubilcans and Tea Partyers. Both groups overwhelmingly endorse this view, with two thirds of each agreeing with it.
By contrast, not even moderate Republicans as a group believe this: 46 percent support this view, while 47 percent oppose it. This view is also opposed by independents (38-44) and the broader public at large (40-42).
King, of course, would probably insist that he doesn’t believe Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. But his repeated statements justifying his hearings seem designed to support this view. He has claimed without evidence that 80 percent of America mosques are radicalized. He has suggested that too many American Muslims fail to cooperate with law enforcement to foil terror plots. And he has insisted that we must only focus the hearings on radicalization committed by those of a single religion -- Muslims -- because to do otherwise would be “politically correct.”
It’s good to see that large swaths of the public -- including moderate Republicans and independents -- reject the worldview King seems so determined to nurture and encourage with his Congressional three ring circus act.
UPDATE, 12:29 p.m.: I should add that the 40 percent of the broader public who think Islam is more likely to encourage violence is uncomfortably large. But the point is, conservatives and Tea Partyers are the only groups in which far, far more believe this than disagree with it.