By BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer

Tensions have increased this year between Islam, the fastest-growing religion on the planet, now embraced by a quarter of mankind, and Oklahoma’s largely Christian population.

The rise of the violently anti-Christian Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, anti-Muslim forums around the state by an Oklahoma lawmaker and a beheading in Moore all have contributed to what some Tulsa Muslims say is the worst environment they have faced.

A Sooner Poll conducted last month shows that a majority of Oklahomans have a negative impression of Islam, and a Pew pollin September shows 50 percent of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other religions to inspire violence, a sharp increase since February, when 38 percent thought so.

“We didn’t feel threatened this much after 9/11,” said Omer Akdeniz, a Turkish Muslim businessman in Broken Arrow who has been in the United States for 15 years.

Continued – Click here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.


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