Worry and hope in the era of Trump

Mus­lims see pres­i­dent as un­friendly, but many find sup­port from com­pa­tri­ots.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Laura King laura.king@la­times.com

WASH­ING­TON — What has life been like for Mus­lims in the U.S. since Don­ald Trump be­came pres­i­dent? A wide-rang­ing new sur­vey high­lights grow­ing wor­ries within the com­mu­nity, but also points to a fun­da­men­tal faith in the Amer­i­can dream.

Al­most three-quar­ters of Amer­i­can Mus­lims sur­veyed — 74% — see Trump as un­friendly to­ward them, but nearly half also say that nonMus­lims in their lives — neigh­bors, col­leagues and strangers — have stepped up and of­fered sup­port and en­cour­age­ment in re­cent months, ac­cord­ing to the Pew Re­search Cen­ter sur­vey.

One re­spon­dent, iden­ti­fied as a Mus­lim woman un­der 30, told the Pew re­searchers that she had ex­pe­ri­enced “rude com­ments straight to my face” when wear­ing a hi­jab in pub­lic. But she added: “I’ve also had peo­ple say re­ally nice things about my hi­jab, or say it’s beau­ti­ful.”

While more than 6 in 10 U.S. Mus­lims say they be­lieve Is­lam is still not viewed by oth­ers as part of the coun­try’s main­stream, over­whelm­ing num­bers said they are proud to be both Amer­i­cans and Mus­lims, and a large ma­jor­ity sees no clash be­tween Is­lam and democ­racy, ac­cord­ing to Pew. The sur­vey, re­leased Wed­nes­day, was the first of its kind con­ducted by the or­ga­ni­za­tion since Pres­i­dent Trump took of­fice.

Dur­ing his cam­paign and his first six months in the Oval Of­fice, Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion have done much to cast a harsh spot­light on Mus­lims, some­times por­tray­ing the re­li­gion it­self as a threat. A wa­tered-down ver­sion of the sweep­ing travel ban de­creed by Trump al­most im­me­di­ately upon tak­ing of­fice has taken par­tial ef­fect, tar­get­ing six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, and hate crimes, par­tic­u­larly against those dis­play­ing overt signs of their Mus­lim faith, have been on the rise.

Many have in­ter­nal­ized larger po­lit­i­cal con­cerns, re­port­ing an in­creased sense of per­sonal anx­i­ety. “Far more Mus­lims ex­press neg­a­tive emo­tions as­so­ci­ated with Trump than pos­i­tive ones,” the Pew re­searchers wrote.

In the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, U.S. Mus­lims — many of whom were put off by rhetoric such as Trump’s call for a “to­tal and com­plete shut­down” on Mus­lims en­ter­ing the coun­try, or of­fended by be­ing tarred by as­so­ci­a­tion with ter­ror­ist at­tacks world­wide — voted for Trump’s op­po­nent, Hil­lary Clin­ton, by a nearly 4-1 mar­gin.

De­spite feel­ings of not be­ing fully ac­cepted in the United States, 70% of the Mus­lims sur­veyed exand pressed an en­dur­ing be­lief that hard work can lead to suc­cess in this coun­try. That fig­ure has re­mained largely con­sis­tent since a sim­i­lar Pew sur­vey in 2007.

Nearly half of the Mus­lims sur­veyed — 48% — said they had faced some form of dis­crim­i­na­tion in the last year, co­in­cid­ing with Trump’s can­di­dacy, such as name-call­ing or threats. But the lev­els in­crease sub­stan­tially among re­spon­dents who said their mode of dress or other vis­i­ble char­ac­ter­is­tics iden­ti­fied them as de­vout Mus­lims, such as women who wear head cov­er­ings or men who wear long beards and tra­di­tional dress. Among that group, 64% said they had faced hos­til­ity or dis­crim­i­na­tion.

There were also signs of a more ac­cept­ing at­ti­tude among Mus­lims re­gard­ing U.S. so­cial mores. In the 2007 Pew sur­vey, 61% of Mus­lims dis­ap­proved of same-sex re­la­tion­ships; now a slight ma­jor­ity — 52% — say that ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity should be ac­cepted by so­ci­ety.

Mus­lims make up about 1% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion, or about 3.35 mil­lion peo­ple, by the re­searchers’ es­ti­mate, they are one of the fastest-grow­ing re­li­gious mi­nori­ties, in­creas­ing by about 100,000 per year. The largest num­bers of Amer­i­can Mus­lims have roots in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent — Pak­istan, In­dia and Bangladesh — with smaller num­bers com­ing from the Mid­dle East and sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

De­spite re­peated sug­ges­tions from Trump that Mus­lims sym­pa­thize with oth­ers of their faith who re­sort to ter­ror­ism, the sur­vey finds over­whelm­ingly neg­a­tive views among Amer­i­can Mus­lims to­ward Is­lamic ex­trem­ism, with more than 4 in 5 de­scrib­ing it as a threat to the world.

But re­searchers also found mis­trust of do­mes­tic U.S. law en­force­ment, with about 30% say­ing that au­thor­i­ties some­times tricked those sus­pected of ter­ror­ism-re­lated ac­tiv­ity, or ar­rested them by mis­take.

The sur­vey of 1,001 adults was con­ducted be­tween Jan. 23 and May 2, us­ing both land­line and mo­bile phones and pos­ing ques­tions in English, Ara­bic, Farsi and Urdu. The mar­gin of er­ror was plus or mi­nus 5.8 per­cent­age points, the re­searchers said.

Shan­non Mil­lard Flint Jour­nal

U.S. MUS­LIMS who wear head scarves were more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence dis­crim­i­na­tion, but some said oth­ers com­pli­mented their hi­jabs, a new Pew sur­vey found.

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