Poll: U.S. should reach out to Muslim nations

With President Obama speaking in Turkey today, a new Washington Post/ABC news poll casts light on American public opinion about Islam. Over 80% of Americans believe it is to improve U.S. relations with Muslim nations. Yet almost half of those polled said they had unfavorable impressions of Islam, and a majority said they did not have a basic understanding of the religion.

Breaking down the 80% of those polled who think it's important to improve relations with Muslim nations, 46% of respondents said it was "very important" while 34% said it was "somewhat important."

When asked whether they had a "good basic understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam, the Muslim religion," 55% responded that they did not. 48% said they had a "generally unfavorable" opinion of Islam, and 29% believe that Islam promotes violence against non-Muslims. 58% answered that Islam is "a peaceful religion."

This morning, Obama spoke to the Turkish Parliament, calling the nation a "true partner" and reaching out to Muslims worldwide. "Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam," the President said. "In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that

The poll has a margin of error or +/- 3%.

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