U.S. Muslims resilient with strong faith in American Dream

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A Pew Research Center survey recently released a series of findings that underscore American Muslims’ self-perception of positivity and belief in collective progress, even in the face of some recent challenges.

By the same token, the survey reveals the strength of the broader American society in standing by its fellow citizens facing discrimination and negative portrayals.

“Despite concerns and perceived challenges they face, 89% of Muslims say they are both proud to be American and proud to be Muslim,” the Pew Center says.

Significantly, the Pew Center reveals that American Muslims largely share the general public’s concerns on religious extremism– a finding that stresses Muslims having a commonality of interests with the broader community.

This opinions emanating from the survey also reject the stereotypes of Muslims as being different from other American citizens on issues of American security.

“Indeed, if anything, Muslims may be more concerned than non-Muslims about extremism in the name of Islam. Yet most Muslims say there is little support for extremism within the U.S. Muslim community, and few say they think violence against civilians can be justified in pursuit of religious, political or social causes.”

“Overall, eight-in-ten Muslims (82%) say they are either very concerned (66%) or somewhat concerned (16%) about extremism in the name of Islam around the world. This is similar to the percentage of the U.S. general public that shares these concerns (83%), although Muslims are more likely than U.S. adults overall to say they are very concerned about extremism in the name of Islam around the world (66% vs. 49%).”

About seven-in-ten Muslims – and a similar share of Americans overall – are concerned about extremism in the name of Islam in the U.S., including roughly half of U.S. Muslims (49%) who say they are very concerned about domestic extremism, according to the findings.

The latest findings are significant as the survey was conducted during the first three months of President Donald Trump’s Administration, which the Pew Center says were an “anxious time” for many Muslims.

The findings also shed light on perceptions among Muslims about the state of their community as well as the larger American national scenario.

Eight-in-ten American Muslims say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their lives.
“And a large majority of U.S. Muslims continue to profess faith in the American dream, with 70% saying that most people who want to get ahead can make it in America if they are willing to work hard.”

However, Muslims feel Islam is not considered part of mainstream America, and disapprove of the way the current presidential administration is doing its job.

“At the same time, however, Muslim Americans express a persistent streak of optimism and positive feelings. Overwhelmingly, they say they are proud to be Americans, believe that hard work generally brings success in this country and are satisfied with the way things are going in their own lives – even if they are not satisfied with the direction of the country as a whole.”

Moreover, the survey suggests that “. . . Muslim Americans are no more disapproving of Trump today than they were of George W. Bush’s performance in office during his second term a decade ago.”

At the same time, the survey indicates that half of Muslim Americans say it has become harder to be Muslim in the U.S. in recent years. And 48% say they have experienced at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months.

“But alongside these reports of discrimination, a similar – and growing – share (49%) of Muslim Americans say someone has expressed support for them because of their religion in the past year. And 55% think Americans in general are friendly toward U.S. Muslims, compared with just 14% who say they are unfriendly.”

The survey spanned over contacts with Muslims between January 23 and May 2, 2017 on landlines and cellphones, among a representative sample of 1,001 Muslim adults living in the United States.

The Pew findings come at an important time for the American society – when the political discourse has accentuated underlying debates on issues related to multiculturalism and diversity, and questions over identity. It is certainly reassuring that the vast majority of the findings appear to highlight the American Muslim community’s continued commitment to the development and security of its home – the United States of America.

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