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How Should the Next US President Discuss Islam?

Children from Al-Rahmah school and other guests react after seeing President Barack Obama during his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Feb. 3, 2016.
How Should the Next US President Talk About Islamic Extremism?
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Americans are split on how their next president should talk about Islamic extremism, says a new public opinion study.

The study found that 65 percent of Republican supporters say the next president should speak directly about Islamic extremism -- even if the statements are critical of Islam.

But among Democrats, 70 percent said they want the next president to speak more carefully about the issue.

The Pew Research Center conducted the poll last month.

Almost half of those who took part in the study said they believe some Muslim-Americans disagree with U.S. culture, politics and policies. About 11 percent believe “most” or “almost all” Muslim-Americans are anti-American.

A Pew study conducted in December found almost half said they believe Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. A similar number said they are “very concerned” about an increase in Islamic extremism in the United States. And almost two-thirds said they believe the bigger problem is that religion is used by violent people as a reason for their violent actions.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama visited a mosque, or Muslim religious center, in Baltimore, Maryland. He said Muslim-Americans are seen negatively by many Americans because of the increase in terrorism linked to Islamist extremists.

The president’s visit “is a simple but powerful affirmation of the fact that American-Muslims are a part of the mosaic of American society,” said Omid Sofi, director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center in North Carolina, in an email to VOA. “Hopefully, it will serve as a reminder of the need to affirm the full rights of all of us, regardless of faith and ethnicity.”

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise. reported on this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it into VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

conduct – v. to plan and do (something, such as an activity)

poll – n. an activity in which several or many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something

encourage – v. to make (someone) more likely to do something

negative – adj. thinking about the bad qualities of someone or something

affirmation – n. the showing of a strong belief in or dedication to (something, such as an important idea)

mosaic – n. something made up of different things that together form a pattern