Muslims in America: Some Fascinating Data

A headline in yesterday’s New York Times reads: “Muslims are Loyal to U.S. and Hopeful, Poll Finds.” In this article, Laurie Goodstein reports on the results of a recent Gallup survey of 2,482 Americans, including 475 Muslims. You can find the whole Gallup report here.

Some of the results of the survey are predictably discouraging. For example, 48% of Muslims reported that they had experienced racial or religious discrimination in the previous year. This is more than any other religious group in America. I wish Gallup had asked separately about racial and religious discrimination, however. It expect that among the 48%, a significant percentage experienced discrimination because of their race, not their religion. This isn’t good, of course. But the 48% number might overstate prejudice against Muslims because of their religion. Moreover, it is worth noting that 52% of Muslims in America did not experience racial or religious discrimination. This number is unacceptably low, but it isn’t as low as I might have feared.

Much of what Gallup found confounds common expectations of Muslims in the U.S. Gallup begins the executive summary of its report in this way:

In the past two years, the percentage of Muslim Americans considered “thriving” has increased more than that of any other major American religious group.

While they continue to experience some perceived bias, both in their interactions with other Americans and in their exchanges with law enforcement, Muslim Americans are satisfied with their current lives and are more optimistic than other faith groups that things are getting better.

Would you have guessed this? There are other fascinating findings as well. Here are some of Gallup’s subheads:

Muslim Americans Rate “Life in Five Years” More Highly Than Do Other Religious Groups

Muslim Americans as Likely as Other Faith Groups to Be Thriving

Muslim Americans Are More Positive About National Economic Conditions

Muslim Americans Are Most Likely to Have Confidence in Honesty of Elections

Muslim Americans Are Most Likely to Reject Violent Individual Attacks on Civilians

Muslim Americans, Those With No Religion, and Jewish Americans Are More Likely to Believe Muslims Have No Sympathy for Al Qaeda

Nearly All Muslim Americans Say Their Faith Group Is “Loyal” to U.S.

Muslim Americans Identify With the United States and Their Faith Equally

Muslims in America panel at the Newseum, Washington DC, July 28, 2011

The Gallup survey suggests that the vast majority of Muslims in America are very much part of the mainstream. This fits with the message I heard at a panel discussion in Washington DC last week. On Thursday evening, July 28, the Newseum hosted a conversation with four Muslim Americans, including Congressman Keith Ellison. He, along with a lawyer/playwright, a filmmaker, and an educator emphasized the fact that their stories are essentially American, different in details, but basically like the stories of other Americans. All of the participants strongly communicated their appreciation for and dedication to the United States.

For Americans who yearn for a “more perfect union” in our country, and for American citizens who are fearful of Muslims, the Gallup survey and the Washington panel offer good news. This does not mean, however, that all is well when it comes to the relationship between Muslims throughout the world and the United States. A couple of years ago, Gallup published an international survey of Muslims. It found that only 7% are radicalized, defined as having a negative view of the United States and believing that the 9/11 attacks were completely justified (download PDF here). Yet, given that there are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, the existence of 91 million radicalized Muslims in an unsettling problem. Nevertheless, it would be wrong for us to regard the majority of Muslims as if they were among this radicalized minority. And it would be even more erroneous to ignore the fact that American Muslims are positive, patriotic, non-violent, active contributors to American society.

  • Cunnudda

    So much manure, so little time…
    1)  Glad Ellison’s propaganda fest was fun.  Did you know his pilgrimage to Mecca was paid for by the Muslim-American Society, our arm of the Muslim Brotherhood?
    2) The 7% number is low.  In Britain (!) a while back they got 13% support for suicide bombing.
    3) The more important number is support for Sharia, which brings institutionalized oppression of non-Muslims, women, homosexuals,etc.  Those numbers are typically at least in the 60′s.  So what if they don’t support terror, if they ultimately support the same sort of state?
    4) I would be more impressed if Ellison et al. spent less time telling us about their peaceful religion and more time actually fighting radicalization in their own ranks.

  • Anonymous

    I’m curious. How do you know Ellison isn’t already doing what you say? Do you have evidence for this? And do you think you know better than Gallup? Again, I’d be interested in your evidence.

  • Cunnudda

    Been too long, can’t find the source of the English poll.  As for Ellison, I’d say burden of proof is on him.  Media quotes him whenever he pushes peaceful Islam meme, no articles about intramosque efforts.
    Would also like to question what they mean by discrimination they’ve suffered.

  • Cunnudda

    Best I could do; the original links are dead: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2004/03/british-muslims-declare-their-sympathies.html
    But again, desire for Sharia is more telling.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re going to accuse someone of not doing something, the burden of proof is on you, don’t you think?
    Seriously, you don’t think Muslims in the U.S. experience discrimination? There are lots of stories in the news all the time about this.

  • Anonymous

    I share your concern about Sharia. But it doesn’t help to make accusations that are not backed up with evidence. It weakens your credibility on the things that count. Now, if you could find evidence that a significant percentage of Muslims want to impose Sharia on non-Muslims, that would indeed be significant. Do you have that evidence? We need more the accusations and innuendo.

  • G Smith

    Interesting poll. I highly question the abilities of these pollsters and the type of questions asked. Recently, while discussing the attitudes of Americans toward Muslims and indeed Muslims attitude toward Americans I mentioned to another that I disagreed with his evaluation of the Muslim Religion. I challenged the individual to simply go with me and ask questions to Muslims at random. Ah, he wouldn’t go. Now, I challenge the writer of this article to travel throughout the US with me, and travel as an unknown bystander and witness what the average Muslim says about America, American Politics, and American Individuals.

    What I have found is that every Muslim I have questioned “hates our political system, hates Americans in general, and believes that all of us are heathens worthy of death. As to date I have found no exceptions. I stop in the Malls to question them, and I treat them with great courtesy. I go to convenience stores and question them at Random. I find it interesting that Hindus in general have great fear of Muslims. Also it is interesting that if you go to a predominantly Hindu country with a few Muslims it is the Muslims (and they are the minority) who persecute the peaceful Hindus. Likewise, if one goes to a predominantly Muslim country or Nation it is still the Muslims doing the persecuting.

    What in the world are you guys thinking. Muslim men may have multiple wives, and the wives have no freedom at all under their husband. The Muslim men have complete rights over all females of all ages. Muslim men have the right to both abuse and kill Muslim women. Muslim men have the right to sexually abuse young female children. Women are treated about as valuable as a dog.

    Now considering the low life, degenerates of which you speak why should I care about you opinion when it is evident you have no idea what you are talking about.

    I have a family member who spent two years assisting Muslims with Navigation. During that two year period of living there he witnessed it all first hand. Good grief, what a ridiculously biased and un-thought article this is. Somebody needs to spend a little more time with Muslims before they write.

  • g smith

    Mark:
    I strongly suggest you take a trip to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan.
    Now, when you get there please speak to just a few people about Jesus. Now, I am not saying you have to believe in Jesus. I am simply saying speak about Jesus. I will not be waiting to hear from you, and how that you have changed your mind about Muslims, for I will assure you, you will have no tongue with which to speak. In addition to speaking to Muslims as I travel the US almost every week, I have also investigated who supports who, and who will condemn what actions. And again, I have not found a single Muslim that has a problem with what happened at 911. I recall that when the towers were struck that a News Station showed the striking of the towers and the cheering of the 6 and 7 year old children as the buildings burst into flame. Now, this clearly indicates their indoctrination at a very early age.

    And then there is the Mosque erected there as a demonstration of their support of the terrorists. Again Mark, I suggest that you go to a Muslim country and raise up a “Church” where a great number of Muslims were killed. See if they will buy whatever explanation you can come up with.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for adding a comment.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a place for all sorts of opinions here.


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