According to Chapman University nearly half of respondents said they would oppose the construction of any mosques near them.
An American Muslim prays at a memorial service after the Orlando attack. (Photo: Getty Images)
Almost half of Americans would feel uncomfortable with a mosque in their neighborhood, according to a recent poll conducted by Chapman University in California.
The third annual survey of American fears polled 1,511 Americans about what they feared most.
Some 41 percent of respondents said they feared a terrorist attack on the nation, the thing Americans feared the second most, after government corruption (60.6%). “Roughly one third” responded that “Muslims are more likely to be terrorists and that the Muslim immigration should be banned,” according to The Orange County Register.
This week, a seven-year-old boy from Florida was beaten by his classmates in an alleged anti-Muslim attack that pushed his parents to leave the country and return to Pakistan.
Abdul Aziz was in first grade in Cary, North Carolina, when his classmates tried to force him to eat non-halal food. When he refused five of his classmates punched him in the face, kicked him in the stomach and twisted his arm while shouting “Muslim, Muslim” at him.
“He was born and raised [in the United States]. He was born in Florida. As American as you can think of. He likes Captain America. He wants to be president of the United States of America,” his father Usmani told The Huffington Post, speaking over Skype from Pakistan.
“It’s very heartbreaking and sad,” he said. “It’s not the America we know about, care about and want to live in.”
Usmani is an award-winning computer scientist whose job reportedly involved using big-data to help thwart terrorist attacks.
Usmani told Huffington Post that this incident was the last straw for the family who moved back to Islamabad where he owns an apartment, although two of his sons needed visas since they are American and not Pakistani citizens.
A spokesman for the school said initial interviews with other pupils did not corroborate Abdul Aziz’s version of events and that Usmani had not mentioned the anti-Muslim nature of the attack. He later sent an email to school Principal Tim Chadwick saying “The kids who beat him up mentioned Muslims, makes fun of his name starts with Abdul and reference his preference of eating only certain [halal] food,” Usmani wrote. “My son is very traumatized and shocked as he has just celebrated his birthday with his classmates few days ago.”
The Muslim Brotherhood linked Council on American Islamic Relations has taken on the case. The school launched a full probe immediately when the incident was reported.
“The behavior alleged in this complaint is not tolerated in our schools,” Lisa Luten, a spokesperson for the Wake County Public School System said. “We have policies that specifically prohibit bullying. Any incident that is brought to our attention is fully investigated.”