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A Change in Attitudes Toward Muslims? A Bayesian Investigation of Pre and Post 9/11 Public Opinion
Unformatted Document Text:  setting of the Netherlands has always been powerful regardless of the terrorist at- tacks. Attitudes toward immigrants (again, mostly Muslims) do not reflect an abrupt transformation following the attacks. Like Sniderman and Hagendoorn, Davis (2007) looks at the evaluations of Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, Arabs, Jews, Latinos, and blacks in the post 9/11 America. By looking at the 2001 National Civil Liberties Survey, he finds that the sense of threat affects just Islamic funda- mentalists who have direct links to the attacks, but not other outgroups. There are two issues regarding this survey. First, it was conducted shortly after the attacks so that the impact of threat on attitudes toward any outgroup may reflect a short-term fluctuation rather than an equilibrium. Second, it may not be valid to generalize this finding for attitudes toward Muslims in general because the frame includes a negative cue, “Islamic fundamentalists”. In this study, given all recovery effect of time on attitudes toward civil liberties and outgroups, we hypothesize that the 9/11 terrorist attacks do not offer a new equilibrium for attitudes toward Muslims who have always been rated lower when compared with other outgroups in America. The perennial negative affect toward Muslims is not a result of the attacks but of enduring ethnocentric sentiments in America. 3 Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism refers to a universalist view of prejudice and tolerance toward minority groups. Rather than distinguishing distinct outgroups to hate, individuals tend to hate or like all minority groups. Even though there may be short term fluctuations about the least liked groups, the social dominance theory tells us that the hierarchical structure of outgroups remains same over time (Sidanius and Pratto 1993). There 7

Authors: Kalkan, Kerem. and Su, Yu-Sung.
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setting of the Netherlands has always been powerful regardless of the terrorist at-
tacks. Attitudes toward immigrants (again, mostly Muslims) do not reflect an abrupt
transformation following the attacks. Like Sniderman and Hagendoorn, Davis (2007)
looks at the evaluations of Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, Arabs,
Jews, Latinos, and blacks in the post 9/11 America. By looking at the 2001 National
Civil Liberties Survey, he finds that the sense of threat affects just Islamic funda-
mentalists who have direct links to the attacks, but not other outgroups. There are
two issues regarding this survey. First, it was conducted shortly after the attacks so
that the impact of threat on attitudes toward any outgroup may reflect a short-term
fluctuation rather than an equilibrium. Second, it may not be valid to generalize this
finding for attitudes toward Muslims in general because the frame includes a negative
cue, “Islamic fundamentalists”.
In this study, given all recovery effect of time on attitudes toward civil liberties
and outgroups, we hypothesize that the 9/11 terrorist attacks do not offer a new
equilibrium for attitudes toward Muslims who have always been rated lower when
compared with other outgroups in America. The perennial negative affect toward
Muslims is not a result of the attacks but of enduring ethnocentric sentiments in
America.
3
Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism refers to a universalist view of prejudice and tolerance toward minority
groups. Rather than distinguishing distinct outgroups to hate, individuals tend to
hate or like all minority groups. Even though there may be short term fluctuations
about the least liked groups, the social dominance theory tells us that the hierarchical
structure of outgroups remains same over time (Sidanius and Pratto 1993). There
7


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