Poll: Fewer Believe That Islam Inspires Violence

The percentage of Americans who believe Islam is more likely than other religions to inspire violence has declined in the past two years, according to a poll taken after the London bombings.

More than a third, 36 percent, now say Islam is more likely to inspire violence, while 44 percent said that in July 2003, according to the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

"This may have to do with some backing off of negative opinions the American public had of Muslims in 2002 and 2003," said Andrew Kohut, director of the center.

The poll found that recent terrorist bombings in London have had no noticeable impact on the public's view of Muslim Americans or of Islam. More than half in the poll, 55 percent, said they have a positive view of Muslim Americans. That is about the same number who felt that way in July 2003 and higher than the number who said they had a positive view of Muslim Americans in March 2001, before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

About the same number in the poll, 57 percent, said they have a favorable view of evangelical Christians. Three-fourths had favorable views of Jews and Catholics.

* RALEIGH, N.C. -- The religious texts of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and faiths other than Christianity should be allowed in North Carolina courts for oaths promising truthful testimony, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a lawsuit filed against the state Tuesday. State law allows witnesses preparing to testify in court to take their oath either by laying a hand over a "Holy Scripture," by saying "so help me God" without the use of a religious book or by using no religious symbols. The ACLU wants the court to find that the phrase "Holy Scripture" includes the Koran, Old Testament and Bhagavad-Gita in addition to the Christian Bible.

* Nearly 4 million children live with parents who had no jobs in the previous year, an increase of 1 million since the beginning of the decade and a total of 5 percent of all 72.5 million children in the United States, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It found that the number of children living in poverty rose to 18 percent in 2003 from 17 percent three years earlier.

* MIAMI -- O.J. Simpson was ordered by a federal judge to pay $25,000 to DirecTV Group Inc. for stealing the satellite broadcaster's signal for his Miami home. The company sued Simpson last October.

* MIAMI -- Insured losses from Hurricane Dennis were predicted to be about $900 million, much less than any of the four storms that pummeled the Southeast last year, risk analysis firm Iso said.

* SALT LAKE CITY -- Brian David Mitchell, who is charged in the kidnapping of teenager Elizabeth Smart, was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

* NASHVILLE -- Drifter Garland Ray Milam, 40, who lived in the woods behind a strip mall, confessed to strangling two other homeless men, telling police he "got addicted to sucking the souls out of people." Police said Milam killed the unidentified men after arguing about money and food.

* BOSTON -- United Airlines Flight 934 from Los Angeles to London was diverted to Boston because three Pakistani passengers were acting suspicious, but nothing amiss was found and the three were released after questioning.

-- From News Services