U.S. Mus­lim women lib­er­ated, grow­ing, re­search finds

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY JU­LIA DUIN

Amer­i­can Mus­lims in­clude some of the world’s most lib­er­ated Is­lamic women and the largest per­cent­age of young peo­ple of any re­li­gious com­mu­nity in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port is­sued March 2 by the Gallup Cen­ter for Mus­lim Stud­ies.

The sur­vey also coined a new phrase: “post 9/11 trauma” to ap­ply to the coun­try’s es­ti­mated 2 mil­lion to 4 mil­lion Mus­lims.

Fifty-nine per­cent of Mus­limAmer­i­can women work; a greater per­cent­age than women in other faiths, ac­cord­ing to “Mus­lim Amer­i­cans: A Na­tional Por­trait.” The sur­vey, which polled 946 self­i­den­ti­fied Mus­lims from Jan­uary to Novem­ber 2008, has a sam­pling er­ror mar­gin of 4 per­cent­age points.

Whereas women in Mus­lim ma­jor­ity coun­tries such as Saudi Ara­bia and Egypt are only half as likely to at­tend Fri­day pray­ers at a mosque, 40 per­cent of Mus­lim women at­tend mosque here, about par with 42 per­cent of Mus­lim men.

It’s “not true” that U.S. Mus­lim women are op­pressed, Ahmed You­nis, a se­nior an­a­lyst for the cen­ter said. “Mus­lim women are roughly equal to men in ed­u­ca­tion, in­come and mosque at­ten­dance.”

The sur­vey also re­vealed Mus­lims are the coun­try’s most eth­ni­cally di­verse re­li­gious group: 35 per­cent are black; 28 per­cent are white, which in­cludes eth­nic Arabs; 18 per­cent are Asian; 18 per­cent are “other”; and 1 per­cent are His­panic.

Mus­lims also have the largest house­holds in the coun­try at 3.81 per­sons on av­er­age com­pared with 2.9 in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, and the high­est num­bers of chil­dren, an av­er­age of 1.33 com­pared with 0.75 in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. This out­strips the next largest group — Mor­mons — who av­er­age 1.24 chil­dren per house­hold.

Forty per­cent have col­lege de­grees or post­grad­u­ate de­grees, sec­ond only to Amer­i­can Jews, and much higher than the gen­eral pub­lic at 29 per­cent.

Seventy per­cent are em­ployed com­pared with 64 per­cent of Amer­i­cans over­all.

They are the heav­i­est smokers, at 24 per­cent, among Amer­i­can re­li­gious groups. The next high­est at 19 per­cent are Catholics.

Mus­lims are 49 per­cent Demo­crat, 8 per­cent Repub­li­can and 37 per­cent in­de­pen­dent. In terms of cat­e­gories, 38 per­cent iden­ti­fied them­selves as “moderate” with the re­main­ing 61 per­cent split be­tween “lib­eral” and “con­ser­va­tive.”

“Af­ter Jews, Mus­lims are most likely to call them­selves ‘lib­eral,’” Mr. You­nis said. How­ever, only 64 per­cent of all Mus­lims are reg­is­tered to vote com­pared with 81 per­cent of the gen­eral pop­u­lace, he said.

Eighty per­cent said re­li­gion is ‘very im­por­tant’ in their lives, which comes be­tween 85 per­cent of Mor­mons who agree with that ques­tion and 76 per­cent of Protes­tants who agree. In­ter­na­tion­ally, the 80 per­cent fig­ure is most sim- ilar to lev­els in Iran, an­a­lysts said.

Jews, in­ci­den­tally, at 39 per­cent, are the least likely Amer­i­can group to say re­li­gion is very im­por­tant to them.

Young Mus­lims are much more re­li­gious than many of their peers, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey. Seventy-seven per­cent said re­li­gion is ‘very im­por­tant’ to them, com­pa­ra­ble to the 74 per­cent of Protes­tants, and much more than young Jews at 42 per­cent and young Catholics at 57 per­cent.

At a March 2 press con­fer­ence, an­a­lysts in­tro­duced a va­ri­ety of nu­anced ques­tions to mea­sure Is­lamic well-be­ing in this coun­try. Ques­tions ranged from fre­quency of feel­ings of anger to whether they felt re­spected, stressed, wor­ried or rested.

Mus­lims scored lower than other re­li­gious groups in many of th­ese cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing “thriv­ing,” a catchall for phys­i­cal and emo­tional health. Forty-one per­cent of Amer­i­can Mus­lims said they were “thriv­ing” and 56 per­cent said they were “strug­gling,” which is lower than all other Amer­i­can re­li­gious groups.

Dalia Mo­ga­hed, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the Gallup Cen­ter for Mus­lim Stud­ies and a Mus­lim her­self, said her co-re­li­gion­ists suf­fer from “post 9/11 trauma.”

She ex­plained, “The com­mu­nity has gone through a tur­bu­lent eight years. Mus­lims are the most neg­a­tively viewed re­li­gious com­mu­nity in the coun­try. Only 35 per­cent of Amer­i­cans har­bor no prej­u­dice against Mus­lims. Nine­teen per­cent of Amer­i­cans said they har­bor “a great deal” of prej­u­dice.

Ad­di­tional Gallup poll data show that only 45 per­cent of all Amer­i­cans be­lieve Mus­lims are loyal cit­i­zens, she added, “so there is an as­pect of be­ing pushed away, of be­ing seen with sus­pi­cion.”

This alien­ation is keener among those ages 12 to 21, she said.

“They went through a very tur­bu­lent eight years at an im­por­tant part of their lives,” she said, “from be­ing in­vis­i­ble to be­ing the most in­ter­est­ing mi­nor­ity in Amer­ica in a neg­a­tive way.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.