Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I Know Where You Live

'I Know Where You Live' is a phrase usually used as a joke in my experience, but I see that in a recent survey done by the Media and Society Research Group at Cornell University1,
27% of people surveyed agreed with the statement, "All Muslim Americans should be required to register their whereabouts with the federal government."

I'm no historian, and I know 27% isn't a majority (I'd be curious to see the equivalent figure in Canada), but I'm thinking that when you look at the historical record of countries where unpopular minority groups have been asked to register their whereabouts with the federal government, the phrase 'I know where you live' probably lost some of it's humour value, to say the least.

On the other hand, I was also surprised that only
47% agreed that, "Islam is more likely to encourage violence compared to other religions."

In a nutshell, the report suggests that folks who watch a lot of TV news, who are Republicans or who are highly religious are more likely to: be scared, favour restricting the rights of Muslims, forbid people from protesting, authorize indefinite detainment of terrorism suspects, believe the media shouldn't criticize the government during a war, and of course, outlaw un-American activities.

On a more subjective level, the number of people who support most of these things, while still a minority, and relatively unchanged since 2002, seems pretty high to me - high enough that another attack could make a majority possible on a lot of these questions - especially among Republicans.

Troubled times in the U.S. these days, I don't envy them.


1 From the survey: "The survey was conducted between October 25 and November 23, 2004; it consists of 715 interviews from a national listed household sample. The response rate was 25.7% and the cooperation rate 54.5%, measured according to AAPOR standards. All results presented in this report have been weighted based on age, gender, and race. The margin of error for reported nationwide results is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. Margin of error may be higher for reported results from sub-groups."

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