WASHINGTON – Four in ten devotees of the Fox News Channel fear that American Muslims want to establish Islamic Sharia law in the United States, according to a new survey.

A survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute found that viewers who trust Fox News as their primary news source have a dramatically more negative opinion of Muslims than those who trust other sources.

Internals of the PRRI poll, obtained by the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, reveal additionally startling statistics about viewers of the conservative-leaning Fox News Channel.

The survey found that "41% of Republicans who most trust Fox News believe that American Muslims want to establish Shari'a law as law of the land in the United States, compared to 23% of Republicans who most trust other news sources and 22% of the general public."

Thirty-one percent of Republicans fear that US Muslims want Sharia, as compared to 15 percent of Democrats, according to the poll.

Eighty-two percent of viewers who most trust Fox News said it would be a good idea to investigate American Muslims for extremism, as compared to 60 percent of Republicans who trust other sources and 56 percent of the general public.

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York has announced his intention to hold such hearings.

Sharia refers to a system of laws and customs derived from the Koran, one in which there is no separation of church and state. It has been used to justify theocracies and religious dictatorships in Muslim nations.

In recent years, Republican lawmakers and high-ticket candidates have -- with no apparent merit -- touted fears about Sharia law taking hold in the United States. Some states have taken up preemptive measures to ban the system.

The PRRI poll found that 65 percent of Fox devotees believe American Muslims "have not done enough to oppose extremism in their communities," as compared to 47 percent of the general public who hold the same view.

A recent study by the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers are also more likely to believe pervasive falsehoods about US politics and world affairs, especially when those untruths are about President Barack Obama.