Muslim Americans satisfied with current status, says Gallup report

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CAIRO: Muslim Americans are satisfied with their current status and are more optimistic than groups of other faiths that things are getting better, a report titled “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future,” revealed.

The report, issued by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, identified two explanations for this evaluation saying the perception of the economy has improved more than that of other groups. Another explanation is that Muslim Americans, who tend to register as democrats, are optimistic about the political climate in the US in a way they have not been for the better part of a decade.

Nearly 8 in 10 Muslim Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, by far his highest rating from all the major religious groups.

The report, which examines the political, social and spiritual engagement of Muslim Americans, found that in the past two years, the percentage of Muslim Americans considered “thriving” has increased more than that of any other major American religious group.

Interestingly, Muslim Americans have the most confidence of any major US religious group in the honesty of the country’s elections. However, they are less confident than Americans of other faith groups in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and military, among the US institutions closely associated with what has been known as the “war on terror” since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Their skepticism about the military extends to Iraq and Afghanistan, and while a substantial proportion of Americans of all major religious groups now see the Iraq war as a mistake, this view is most prevalent among Muslim Americans at 83 percent.

In addition, 47 percent believe that it was a mistake to send forces into Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the report also finds that 65 percent of Muslim Americans believe that the US’s unpopularity in majority-Muslim countries is based on what the US policies, while a much smaller proportion, roughly one in four Muslim Americans, says the US’ negative image in majority-Muslim countries stems from misinformation spread by those countries’ leaders.

When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Muslim Americans and Jewish Americans have similar views about how that conflict might be resolved, as a substantial majority of Muslim Americans, 81 percent, and Jewish Americans, 78 percent, support a future in which an independent Palestinian state would coexist alongside of Israel.

When it comes to the social engagement, the majority of Americans think Muslim Americans are more obligated than other groups to speak out against terrorism. On the other hand, Muslim Americans themselves are divided equally between those who think they are more obligated to speak out and those who disagree.

At least 4 in 10 in every major religious group in the US say Americans are prejudiced toward Muslim Americans, with Jews (66 percent) saying this in slightly higher numbers than Muslims (60 percent).

Interestingly, the report finds that Muslim Americans who attend religious services at least once a week have higher levels of civic engagement and report less stress and anger than do other US Muslims who attend religious services less frequently. This raises the possibility of community leaders using mosques as a mobilizing platform to push Muslim Americans toward greater civic engagement.


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