Survey: US Muslims are proud to be American, but think discrimination is rising

Washington (IINA) - Majority of American Muslims are of the view that as a religion they face a lot of discrimination in the United States and the media is unfair to Muslims, and that other Americans do not view Islam as part of mainstream US society, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center (PRC).

Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) say they have been called offensive names in the last year, and 6 percent claim to have been physically threatened or attacked.

Yet for most American Muslims, these problems only partially define their personal experiences in the US Four-in-five say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their lives, and 84 percent categorise Americans in general as friendly (55 percent) or neutral (30 percent) toward US Muslims. About nine-in-ten (92 percent) say they are proud to be American.

These findings come from PRC survey of 1,001 U.S. Muslim adults, conducted January 23 to May 2, 2017. The poll follows earlier Pew Research Center surveys of American Muslims in 2007 and 2011.

The new survey indicates that the US Muslim community is facing numerous challenges. Three-quarters (75 percent) of Muslim respondents, for example, say there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the US (a view shared by 69 percent of Americans in general). Muslim women are more likely than Muslim men to hold this view (83 percent versus 68 percent).

Asked to describe, in their own words, the most significant problems facing Muslims today, 23 percent of US Muslims mentioned discrimination, racism or prejudice. Meanwhile, 13 percent point to ignorance or misconceptions about Islam, 10 percent mention views of Muslims as terrorists, 9 percent mention negative media portrayals in general, and 9 percent mention President Donald Trump's attitudes and/or policies toward Muslims. About one-in-ten (9 percent) identify no problems.

Muslims also were asked whether they had experienced specific types of discrimination over the previous 12 months. About one-third (32 percent) say that others have acted suspiciously because they are Muslim, one-fifth say they had been called offensive names, and 18 percent say airport security had singled them out. One-in-ten (10 percent) say they had been singled out by other law enforcement officers and 6 percent say they have been physically threatened or attacked. Overall, 48 percent of respondents say at least one of these things happened to them in the 12 months prior to the survey, slightly higher than the 40 percent of respondents who said the same in 2007. Women (26 percent) are more likely than men (13 percent) in this year's survey to say they have been called offensive names.

Meanwhile, most Muslims (62 percent) say Americans do not view Islam as part of mainstream American society. In fact, a plurality of US adults (50 percent) says they don't see Islam as part of mainstream society. Most US Muslims also say the American media is biased against them, with six-in-ten saying coverage of Islam and Muslims by American news organisation is unfair.

Along with their concerns, US Muslims also report a host of positive feelings about life in the US Even as most say that Americans do not view Islam as mainstream, for example, majorities of US Muslims (60 percent) say they have a lot in common with most Americans, and that they can get ahead through hard work (70 percent) socio-economic that is a key component of the so-called American dream.

U.S. Muslims also appear to be more socially integrated with non-Muslims than they were a decade ago. About one-third (36 percent) of U.S. Muslims say that all or most of their friends are Muslim, down from 47 percent who said that in 2007. Many report positive interactions with non-Muslims by another measure, as well: 49 percent say that someone expressed support for them because they are Muslim in the 12 months prior to the survey, up from 32 percent who said this in 2007.

In many ways, American Muslims are also well integrated into the socio-economic fabric of their country. They are as likely (24 percent) as the general population (23 percent) to live in households with $100,000 or more in income, as likely as US adults to be college graduates (31 percent each), and roughly as likely (44 percent) as the general population (49 percent) to be employed full time, World Economic Forum reported.

At the same time, they are considerably less likely (37percent) than the general population to own a home (57 percent), and more likely (40 percent) than Americans in general (32 percent) to have annual Household incomes under $30,000. They also are more likely (29 percent) than the general population (12 percent) to be underemployed, meaning that they are employed part-time but would prefer full-time work, or they are unemployed but looking for a job.

Source: International Islamic News Agency