01: Most American Muslims agree that undemocratic regimes in the Islamic world should receive reduced American support, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by Zogby International, polled 1,781 adults who identified themselves as Muslims; 10 percent of those polled were not U.S. citizens. Sixty one percent agreed on cutting aid to undemocratic Islamic countries, while 39 percent disagreed or said they were not sure. These statistics were the most surprising of the survey, according to one of the study’s researchers, reports the Jerusalem Post (Dec. 20).
Sixty-seven percent of respondents agreed with President Bush’s claim that the U.S. is fighting a war over terrorism, while 18 percent said it is engaging in a war on Islam; 16 percent were not sure. Eighty-four percent agreed that the U.S. should support a Palestinian state.
02: While the popularity of online religion sites has gradually increased over the past year, the events of Sept. 11 have seemed to intensify this interest on more than a temporary basis, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The Christian Science Monitor (Dec. 20) reports that while the dramatic audience surge on religious web sites has subsided somewhat since the weeks after Sept. 11, some major sites “report that visits have plateaued at higher levels than before the events.” Some 28 million people — or 25 percent of Internet users — say they have used the Internet to gather religious information or connect with others on spiritual matters. More than 3 million do so every day, which is a 50 percent jump over last year, according to the survey of Internet users. The “great majority” of these users are “highly religious people” using resources to strengthen their own faith and learn about other faiths.
03: Data on approximately 20 of the larger religious sites shows a doubling of monthly visitors from 2.4 million in October of 2000 to more than 4.8 million in October of 2001.
Religious sites with strong showings into October include ChristinaityToday.com, Beliefnet, Catholic.org, and the site of the Sojourners community (www.sojo.net), which had a sevenfold increase in visitors since Sept. 11. One difference in the post-Sept. 11 visits is that people are looking to link up with others rather than surf the web solo. This “boomlet” in religious sites arrives at a time when many religious dot.coms are folding or cutting back.
04: Most Americans believe they are forgiven by God of past misdoings, but they are less able to believe they can forgive others or themselves, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute of Social Research, found that almost 75 percent of the respondents said they knew God had forgiven them, but only 52 percent reported they had forgiven other people, and 57 percent they had forgiven themselves for transgressions against others.
The tendency to forgive others and themselves increased among the respondents with age, according to the study published in the Journal of Adult Development and cited in the New York Times (Dec. 11).