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These Numbers Explain the Sudden Republican Antipathy to Muslim Refugees

A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that 73 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe the values of Islam and America are incompatible.
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Will the Paris Attacks Be a Turning Point in GOP Race?

On Tuesday morning, as many Republican governors and presidential aspirants were jockeying to express their antipathy to Muslim refugees hoping to emigrate to the United States, the Brookings Institution held an event to unveil the findings of this year’s American Values Survey. Titled “Anxiety, Nostalgia and Mistrust,” the report goes a long way toward explaining the intensity of the anti-Muslim sentiment that has gripped Republican politicians (and a couple Democrats) in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris. 

The survey itself was taken before the attacks, so it likely doesn’t capture the full spectrum of fear and mistrust among U.S. demographic groups that exists toward Muslims today. Even so, it vividly illustrates why a presidential candidate intent on appealing to Republican primary voters might, as Chris Christie did on Monday, take a position on Muslim refugees so extreme that it even barred orphaned toddlers