Zealous opposition to a planned Islamic center and mosque in Murfreesboro would lead some to believe that Tennesseans are intolerant to Muslims.
But a new poll released on Thursday by Middle Tennessee State University says that’s not the case.
The study found that 66 percent of Tennesseans say Muslims in United States deserve the same rights as other Americans. A similar percentage say they either support or would not oppose construction of an Islamic center in Murfreesboro or near their residence, according to a news release.
“Recent news coverage has tended to portray Tennessee as intensely hostile toward Muslim Americans,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the MTSU poll. “Our findings suggest, though, that such attitudes are not typical of state residents — or at least not typically expressed by them, even when participating anonymously in a survey.”
Nonetheless, the report found that 63 percent of Tennesseans oppose construction of the Park51 Islamic community center planned for construction a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The poll found that the majority of Tennesseans reject the idea of requiring Muslims to register their whereabouts with the government and consider it wrong to profile people as potential terrorists because they are Muslim.
Conducted by MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, the telephone poll of 614 Tennessee adults chosen at random from across the state has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.