An extensive survey of Muslim-Americans conducted by Gallup last year reveals that far from being a disgruntled, subversive minority group, Muslim-Americans are more optimistic about their future than any other religious group in the United States. They are also overwhelmingly loyal to their country, even though they were far more likely to say that they had recently experienced discrimination.
“The prejudice and discrimination are definitely there, and that’s something we have consistently seen in the data,” said Mohamed Younis, a senior analyst at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. “But at the same time many of the people in the Muslim-American community seem to be doing relatively well, and part of their doing well is being able to be full-fledged Americans, to participate in the American experience.”
Over ninety percent of the Muslim-Americans surveyed said that they believed that their fellow Muslims were loyal to the U.S., but they also acknowledged the likelihood that their allegiance was questioned by members of other faiths. Nearly all of the people surveyed said that Muslim-Americans had no ties or sympathies with al-Qaeda, but they were also critical of U.S. foreign policy measures since the 9/11 attacks.
Disturbingly, half of the respondents said that they had experienced outright prejudice or discrimination because of their religion in the past year. Only Mormons were anywhere close to matching these numbers, and Muslims also reported feeling disrespected when they practiced their religion in public. In the context of these findings, it’s truly remarkable that Muslims manage to retain such a strong sense of goodwill toward the United States and a spirit of optimism about their own futures.
One thing is for sure: Muslim-Americans are avid supporters of President Obama, perhaps because he promised to repair frayed relationships with Muslim countries abroad. In the survey, respondents gave Obama an 80% approval rating. With the exception of American Jews, all other religious groups rate Obama below 50%.
Somebody should send this study to Herman Cain. It might make him just a little more grateful that, after his repeated displays of Islamophobia, Muslim-Americans were still willing to engage in a “heartfelt dialogue” with him.
Photo from AgnosticPreachersKid via Wikimedia Commons.