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Every fifth American thinks Obama is Muslim

Last updated on: August 19, 2010 12:44 IST

Image: Muslim women look at an image of Barack Obama, made from a mosaic of stamps, in Jakarta
Photographs: Dadang Tri/Reuters

Over a year and a half into Barack Obama's presidency, an increasing number of Americans -- nearly one in five -- incorrectly believe that he is a Muslim, a new survey has revealed.

The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers, the Pew Research Center said after releasing the results of its national survey.

Text: PTI


'Some people want to spread falsehood about Obama'

Image: Obama at the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, in June 2009
Photographs: Larry Downing/Reuters

The Pew Research Center said 18 per cent of the Americans now say Obama is a Muslim, which is up from 11 per cent in March 2009. Only about one-third of the adults (34 per cent) say Obama is a Christian, down sharply from 48 per cent in 2009.

The survey was completed in early August, before Obama's recent comments that appeared favouring the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center in New York, the center said.

The White House's faith advisor Joshua DuBois attributed this to the misinformation campaign by his opponents. "While the president has been diligent and personally committed to his own Christian faith, there is certainly folks who are intent on spreading falsehood about him and his values and beliefs," DuBois said.

Misconception or political ploy?

Image: Obama addresses the Muslim world from Cairo University on June 4, 2009
Photographs: Larry Downing/Reuters

The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, while the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly.

However, there has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, Pew said.