Poll: Christian rights more important than Muslim ones
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More Americans say it’s important to defend the religious liberties of Christians than Muslims, according to a poll released Wednesday by The Associated Press and the National Opinion research Center.

Majorities in the survey said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to preserve religious freedom in general. But results diverged when respondents were asked about the rights of specific faiths.

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Eighty-two percent said it was important to protect the religious liberties of Christians, compared to 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About 70 percent said the same of Jews, while 67 percent said it was important to protect the religious rights of Mormons.

The preference for the rights of Christians over Muslims held across party lines.

Eighty-eight percent of Republicans said it was important to protect the rights of Christians, while only 60 percent said the same of Muslims.

Among Democrats, 83 percent said preserving the religious liberties of Christians was crucial, compared to 67 percent who said so for Muslims.

Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, told the Associated Press that the findings show a fundamental disagreement about the definition of religious liberty.

“Religious freedom is now in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “People in different traditions, with different ideological commitments, define religious liberty differently.”

The poll was conducted from Dec. 10 to 13, after the radical Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE, the 2016 Republican primary front-runner, has recently intensified his rhetoric about the threat posed by radical Islam, calling for surveillance on mosques and a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the country.

The AP/NORC poll surveyed 1,042 adults online and by phone. The margin of error is 3.9 percent.