Last week, the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center with the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies released a survey titled “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future; Examining U.S. Muslims’ Political, Social, and Spiritual Engagement 10 Years After September 11.”
This comprehensive report found that the Muslim American community is “thriving” more than ever, and that Muslim Americans are politically, socially and religiously engaged and contributors to society. However, the report also found anti-Muslim sentiments are a significant impediment to continued engagement between Muslim Americans and the community at large.
More than any other religious group, Muslim Americans have optimism for the future, according to the poll. Sixty percent of the community regard themselves as “thriving,” a tremendous increase of 19 percent in the past three years. These figures counter the inaccurate common narrative of Muslim Americans as a disaffected community; Muslim Americans responded with more confidence about the current economic and political climate than other communities.
Gallup’s study also reported significant civic engagement among the Muslim American community Muslims have more confidence in the electoral system than any other religious group. While Muslim Americans are somewhat critical of US foreign policy, they support the American political and justice systems as much as any other community. Additionally, Gallup found that Muslim Americans who attend weekly religious services are significantly more engaged, raising the possibility that mosques are an important platform for civic participation.
While Gallup identified places of worship as a catalyst for civic engagement, it also asked respondents to write in Muslim American organizations, if any, they felt most represented their interests. Out of more than 5,500 self-identified Muslim Americans, 7 percent cited the Muslim Public Affairs Council as the organization that best represented their interests. Furthermore, whether the organization was the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, the followers of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed or the Islamic Circle of North America, 70 percent of the respondents felt a Muslim American organization represented their interests.
The importance of this comprehensive survey is its recognition of the improving fortunes of Muslim Americans. Though anti-Muslim sentiments remain an obstacle, the Muslim American community has rejected the victim role and continues to strive for greater achievements.
Muslim Americans contribute to our nation in all aspects of civic engagement and political participation. The Muslim American community wholly rejects the notion that faith and patriotism are incompatible. Rather, as the study highlights, Muslim Americans seek to serve their nation, inspired by the values of their faith.