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Survey: Americans Split on Attitudes Toward Islam, Extremism

FILE - A Muslim woman holds a poster during a protest against Donald Trump in New York, Dec. 20, 2015.

A new survey revealed a sharp difference between Democrats and Republicans on how the next president of the United States should discuss Islamic extremism.

The Pew Research Center study found 65 percent of Republicans, or those who lean Republican, want President Barack Obama's successor to speak bluntly about Islamic extremism, even if the statements are critical of Islam as a whole.

However, 70 percent of Democrats, or those who lean Democratic, think the next president should speak more carefully.

Overall though, half of all Americans want the next president not to denounce Islam as a whole when talking about Islamic extremism.

The survey, which was conducted last month, also found that nearly half of those asked believe that some Muslim citizens hold anti-American attitudes, including 11 percent who believe that "most" or "almost all" U.S. Muslims are anti-American.

Previous study

A previous survey, conducted in December by the Pew Research Center, found nearly half of Americans think Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, with a similar number saying they are "very concerned" about the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S.

But the current survey by Pew finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the bigger problem is that religion is being used by violent people to justify their actions.

Obama visited an Islamic mosque in Baltimore Wednesday, where he acknowledged the “hugely distorted” negative view Muslim-Americans have had to endure with the rise of terrorism-related violence by Islamist extremists.