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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > One is too many: Pew survey shows 1 in 4 young U.S. Muslims supports suicide bombings

One is too many: Pew survey shows 1 in 4 young U.S. Muslims supports suicide bombings

May 25, 2007

American Muslims Mainstream & Assimilated? - Hardly

May 23, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In the most recent study of American Muslim opinion, the Pew Research Center conducted an extensive poll encompassing 60,000 total respondents.

Two general conclusions are trumpeted from beginning to the end of the 100 page .pdf which outlines the study?s results.

1. American Muslims are mostly "middleclass and mainstream."

2. American Muslims are less extreme than their European counterparts, "The poll reveals that Muslims in the United States reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than do Muslim minorities in Western European countries."

In the abstract this seems like good news, the implication being that American Muslims have become essentially indistinguishable, culturally from Americans of European lineage.

Unfortunately the study does little to dampen widespread concerns that America's Muslim population is substantially different from all other demographic groups. More to the point a substantial number of American Muslims are terror friendly and the differences between Muslim Americans and other demographic groups are based almost entirely upon their religious affiliation.

Nearly half [47%, pg 31] of American Muslims see themselves as Muslim first, not American.

The study tries to blunt [a sense of moral equivalence permeates the work] this fact by asserting that Christians self identify in a similar manner.

The authors interject an additional factor however which serves to obfuscate the issue, the Christian group they are looking at is one that self-identifies as seeing "religion as very important." This factor seems to render the conclusion that the "monolithic" Christian and Muslim demographics both view basic identity in a similar manner, as being incorrect.

Underlining this fact is that Muslims under 30 are almost three times as likely to identify themselves primarily as Muslims first rather than American [60% to 25%, p 31] blunting arguments of assimilation via acculturation.

As to sympathy with terrorism and/or its tactics, the study reveals a remarkable portion of the Muslim population which harbors extremist sentiments and the younger, more devout one is the more widely held these beliefs are.

The study offers this section as proof that in general American Muslim reject violence and radicalism, yet the presence of such substantial numbers of those who at least conditionally accept suicide bombing and identify with al-Qaeda should be extremely troubling. In keeping with Pew's multicultural approach American Muslim's views on this subject are termed "complex."

Only half [51%, p 5] are "extremely concerned" about the rise of Islamic radicalism worldwide and despite a seemingly endless supply of domestic terror plots only a little more than a third [36%, p 5] are concerned about a similar rise of extremism in the United States.

75% oppose the war in Iraq, 48% even oppose the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan and well over half, 55% believe that the war on terror is "not sincere" [p 5].

Fully 8% of American Muslims condone the practice of suicide bombing, inexplicably 9% refuse to take a position, one must surmise because of a perceived danger in supporting religious based guerilla warfare.

For some reason Pew has chosen to combine those supporting suicide bombing "rarely" with those who never support it, again the reasoning behind such a melding of data must be judged within the context of the report's clear intent to assure the public that Muslims are no different from any other demographic group.

On the question of support for al-Qaeda, only 58% view bin-Laden's terrorist organization "very unfavorably" [p 5] This places over 40% of the Muslim population in an indefensible ideological position, rendering the Pew declaration [along with every significant player in the main stream media] of it being "middle class and mainstream" entirely meaningless.

One aspect of the Pew research is laudable however, with CAIR [the Council on American Islamic Relation, a Saudi funded Hamas front group] fantasizing that there are 8 million Muslim Americans, Pew estimates the number as only .6% of the population, 1.8 million a conclusion that we came to in January of this year [source, CAIR Overestimates Number Of American Muslims By 400%, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=cair11907%2Ehtm].

51% of America's Muslim population are Sunni, 16% Shia [p 21]

63% of American Muslims are Democrats [p 42] and 70% believe in bigger government [p 44].

Only 40% believe that Arabs were involved in the 9/11 attacks [p 51].

If one reads beyond the headlines and the study's often misleading topic introductions, one must conclude that U.S. Muslims are mainstream only as compared to their even less acculturated European brothers and sisters.

Substantial and extremely troubling numbers of American Muslims are totally out-of-step with the prevailing culture; over half see themselves as Muslim first, 40% are not condemnatory of al-Qaeda and approximately 17% have not rejected suicide bombing. American Muslims reject the main thrust of U.S. foreign policy, even opposing destroying bin-Laden's Afghanistan stronghold. Domestically a huge majority, nearly three quarters support larger government and nearly two-thirds align themselves politically with the Democrat party.

The study shows that the degree of radicalization of American Muslims increases in direct proportion to their degree of fervor, with younger Muslims tending to be more subject to the pull of extremism than their elders, not a particularly auspicious harbinger for the future.

In its apparent haste to see all cultures as equal, Pew has presented its data in a manner conducive to being misinterpreted by the media - which has run with the ball - however what lurks behind the touchy feeling efforts to cast this small but combative subculture as "mainstream" is a reality that gives far more than pause for concern, that being substantial numbers of Muslim Americans reside far outside the American - and Western - cultural norm and represent what will be a serious and ongoing national security challenge. http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=pew52307%2Ehtm


MIM: The PEW survey statistics:

Pew Research Center

Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream

May 22, 2007

Download the complete report

The first-ever, nationwide, random sample survey of Muslim Americans finds them to be largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world.

The Pew Research Center conducted more than 55,000 interviews to obtain a national sample of 1,050 Muslims living in the United States. Interviews were conducted in English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. The resulting study, which draws on Pew's survey research among Muslims around the world, finds that Muslim Americans are a highly diverse population, one largely composed of immigrants. Nonetheless, they are decidedly American in their outlook, values and attitudes. This belief is reflected in Muslim American income and education levels, which generally mirror those of the public.

Key findings include:

  • Overall, Muslim Americans have a generally positive view of the larger society. Most say their communities are excellent or good places to live.
  • A large majority of Muslim Americans believe that hard work pays off in this society. Fully 71% agree that most people who want to get ahead in the United States can make it if they are willing to work hard.
  • The survey shows that although many Muslims are relative newcomers to the U.S., they are highly assimilated into American society. On balance, they believe that Muslims coming to the U.S. should try and adopt American customs, rather than trying to remain distinct from the larger society. And by nearly two-to-one (63%-32%) Muslim Americans do not see a conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.
  • Roughly two-thirds (65%) of adult Muslims in the U.S. were born elsewhere. A relatively large proportion of Muslim immigrants are from Arab countries, but many also come from Pakistan and other South Asian countries. Among native-born Muslims, roughly half are African American (20% of U.S. Muslims overall), many of whom are converts to Islam.
  • Based on data from this survey, along with available Census Bureau data on immigrants' nativity and nationality, the Pew Research Center estimates the total population of Muslims in the United States at 2.35 million.
  • Muslim Americans reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than do Muslim minorities in Western European countries. However, there is somewhat more acceptance of Islamic extremism in some segments of the U.S. Muslim public than others. Fewer native-born African American Muslims than others completely condemn al Qaeda. In addition, younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified. Nonetheless, absolute levels of support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans are quite low, especially when compared with Muslims around the world.
  • A majority of Muslim Americans (53%) say it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Most also believe that the government "singles out" Muslims for increased surveillance and monitoring.
  • Relatively few Muslim Americans believe the U.S.-led war on terror is a sincere effort to reduce terrorism, and many doubt that Arabs were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Just 40% of Muslim Americans say groups of Arabs carried out those attacks.

Download the complete report


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