The image of U.S. Muslims improved significantly in the eyes of their fellow Americans after the terrorist attacks, despite fears that the opposite would occur, according to a survey released Thursday.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans had a favorable view of U.S. Muslims in November, compared to 45 percent in March, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Conservative Republicans showed the most dramatic change, with 64 percent feeling favorably toward the group, compared to 35 percent in March.
"The survey finds clear evidence that Americans are heeding President Bush's call for tolerance," the report's authors said.
Muslims and members of other religions who were mistaken for Muslims were targets of hate crimes after the hijackers struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Regarding motivation for the attacks, 49 percent of Americans blamed political beliefs, while 30 percent felt religion motivated the hijackers.
Most respondents 89 percent completely or mostly rejected the idea that the attacks were a sign God was not protecting the United States. Evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson had made that argument, then later apologized.
The poll of 1,500 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.