'American Dream' alive for Muslims despite rising hate crime: study

Study shows nearly half of American Muslims experience discrimination


News Desk July 27, 2017
PHOTO: REUTERS

The Pew Research Center released a new survey on Wednesday explaining how Muslim Americans perceive discrimination against their community and their place in the American society. However, the most interesting part is that they survey showed that American-Muslims are not ready to give up on the American dream.

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The study begins with, “The early days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been an anxious time for many Muslim Americans, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Overall, Muslims in the United States perceive a lot of discrimination against their religious group, are leery of Trump and think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream US society.”

However, they have also expressed a persistent streak of optimism and positivity towards the American dream. They are proud to be Americans and they work really hard to bring success to the country, even if they aren’t satisfied with the direction of American as a whole.

According to the research, about 50% of Muslim Americans said it’s been difficult to be a Muslim within the past several years in the US, and 48% confessed they have experienced at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months.

The survey also showed that in comparison to Trump, who Muslims think is unfriendly towards their community, Barack Obama’s reign was when the Muslims thought the country was headed “in the right direction” and the president was viewed as ‘friendly’.

The survey was conducted on Muslims living in the US from January 23 to May 2, 2017, through landlines and cellphones.  The sample consisted of 1,001 Muslim adults living in the US.

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Despite the 91% increase in anti-Muslim violence, and multiple attempts at restricting the traveling of Muslims to the US, the respondents showed unrelenting optimism towards their future in the country.

According to the findings, 75% of respondents believe Muslims are discriminated against in the US, and an overwhelming majority — 89% — said they are proud to identify both as a Muslim and as an American. Seventy percent of Muslims also expressed belief in the American Dream and that most people who want to get ahead and make it in the country can do so if they are willing to work hard.

Pew also asked survey participants about their viewpoints on terrorism and religious extremism. Far more Muslim Americans (76%) expressed that targeting and killing civilians is unjustified than the general public (59%). These findings are crucial at a time when debates of integration and national security have put Muslims under intense scrutiny.

It provides evidence contrary to the idea that one cannot be both a devout Muslim and a patriotic American, a misconception often espoused by the actions of the Trump administration and anti-immigration advocates. For instance, anti-Muslim activists like Pamela Geller and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopolous have stated that Muslims are seeking to replace the US Constitution and impose sharia law on Americans. Several other conservative activists have campaigned on removing chapters about Islam in their children’s world history textbooks.

During the 2016 Republican National Convention, in an effort to pander to the conservative LGBTQ base, Trump promised to protect gay and lesbians from a “hateful foreign ideology,” referring to Islam. In November 2015, Trump told an MSNBC reporter that Americans “are not loved by many Muslims.”

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“We have to be careful not to send the message that people have to check their religion or religious identity at the door in America,” Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, said in a phone interview to Mic. “Sending the message to young Muslims that they can’t be fully American and fully Muslim at the same time is extremely harmful.”

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