Study paints rare portrait of Muslim Americans

Muslims in America have a much more positive outlook on life than their counterparts in most predominantly Muslim countries and some other Western societies, according to a poll released Monday.

The Gallup Organization study found Muslim-Americans to be racially and ideologically diverse, extremely religious, and younger and more highly educated than the typical American.

Gallup asked respondents to evaluate their life situation by placing themselves on a ladder where the bottom step, zero, equals the worst possible life and 10 the best possible life. Gallup defined as “thriving” those who said they’re currently on at least step seven of that ladder and expect to be on step eight or higher about five years from now.

Muslim-Americans (41 percent) were slightly less likely than Americans overall (46 percent) to be thriving. Yet the proportion of Muslims thriving in the United States was among the highest of Western societies surveyed, Gallup found. For example, only 8 percent of Muslims in the United Kingdom and 23 percent in France were thriving.;_ylt=AvpaIi.E3p7lYRzkotELqT87Xs8F

Gallup Organization interviews with a random sample of 946 Muslim Americans in 2008 shed light on the demographics of this rarely studied group:

RACE: Muslims are the nation’s most racially diverse religious group. At least a third of Muslim-Americans are black — mostly converts or children of converts to Islam. “The significant proportion of native-born converts to Islam is a characteristic unique to the United States,” Gallup said. More than a quarter call themselves white, while nearly one in five identified as Asian and about as many classified themselves as “other.”

RELIGIOSITY: Muslim-Americans are more religious than other Americans, but less likely than those in predominantly Muslim countries to say religion plays an important part in their lives — 80 percent of Muslim-Americans compared to virtually all in Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Morocco, for example.

IDEOLOGY: Muslim-Americans are the U.S. religious group most evenly spread out along the political spectrum — 29% liberal, 38% moderate, 25% conservative.;_ylt=AvhtcoLQF3JGK67IxttT5307Xs8F

It would be interesting to know the breakdown of those Muslims; what they were before and where they came from. The U.S. has a large number of middle class refugees from Saddam, Assad and violence. Also, it has seemed to me Albanians are much more likely to assimilate than, say, Indonesians. My general impression is that most Muslim immigrants into Europe are there for economic reasons rather than political reasons.

I could be wrong, but of the Muslims I know, they did not not come here as low-end laborers, as seems to be the case with Muslim immigrants to, say, France. Most seem to be commercial people of one kind or another. It would also be much tougher to become a Muslim illegal in the U.S. due to sheer distance, when potential Hispanic illegals are so near to hand. If Mexico was Algeria, I suspect the situation would be entirely different.

Most of the Muslims I know are black converts, including one of my parochial school classmates.

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