Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans
by Richard Wike, Pew Global Attitudes Project, Greg Smith, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
December 17, 2009
Recent events such as the Fort Hood shootings and the arrest of five Muslim American students in Pakistan have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the United States. However, the Pew Research Center's comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests it is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than Muslim minority communities in other countries. Violent jihad is discordant with the values, outlook and attitudes of the vast majority of Muslim Americans, most of whom reject extremism.
A Middle Class, Mainstream Minority Group
As the title of Pew Research's 2007 study suggests, Muslim Americans are "middle class and mostly mainstream." Compared with their co-religionists in other Western societies, they are relatively well integrated into mainstream society. Unlike Western Europe's Muslim populations, Muslims in the U.S. are generally as well-educated and financially well-off as the general population. Most (72%) say their communities are good or excellent places to live, and most believe in the American dream -- 71% say that in the U.S., most people who want to get ahead can make it if they are willing to work hard.
When asked whether they think of themselves first as an American or as a Muslim, 47% of Muslims in the U.S. think of themselves first in terms of their religion, while 28% identify themselves first as Americans and 18% volunteer that they identify as both. At 46%, French Muslims are about equally as likely as those in the U.S. to think of themselves first as Muslim. However, Muslim Americans are less likely to identify primarily with their religion than are Muslims living in Britain, Germany, and Spain.
Primary identification with religious affiliation is not unique to Muslims. Religious identity is almost equally as high among American Christians, 42% of whom say they think of themselves first as Christian. About half (48%) of Christians in the U.S. identify first as Americans, while 7% volunteer that they identify both with their nationality and their religion.1
Roughly six-in-ten Muslim Americans (62%) say that the quality of life for Muslim women in the U.S. is better than the quality of life for women in most Muslim countries, while 7% say it is worse, and 23% believe it is about the same. French Muslims are equally likely to think that life is better for Muslim women in their country, while in Britain, Germany and Spain, Muslims are somewhat less likely to hold this view.
Many Muslim Americans share the concerns of the broader population about Islamic extremism. Roughly three-quarters (76%) are very or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism around the world, compared with 81% of the U.S. general population.2 About six-in-ten Muslim Americans (61%) are also worried about the potential rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S., although this is lower than the level of concern among the general public (78%).3
Few Endorse Extremism
Very few Muslim Americans hold a positive opinion of al Qaeda -- only 5% give the terrorist organization a favorable rating, while 68% express an unfavorable view, including 58% who describe their view as very unfavorable. About one-quarter (27%) decline to offer an opinion.
Support for suicide terrorism among Muslim Americans is similarly rare: 78% believe that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets to defend Islam from its enemies can never be justified, and another 5% say these types of attacks are rarely justified. Fewer than one-in-ten American Muslims say that suicide bombing is sometimes (7%) or often (1%) justified.
Over the course of the decade, the Pew Global Attitudes Project has asked this same question of Muslim populations around the world, and results show that Muslims in the U.S. are among the most likely to reject suicide bombing. Among the populations surveyed recently, opposition to suicide bombing is highest in Pakistan (87% say it is never justified) -- a nation currently plagued by suicide bombings and violence by extremist groups. As recently as 2004, only 35% of Pakistani Muslims held this view. As Pew Global Attitudes surveys have documented, the growing rejection of extremism in Pakistan is part of a broader pattern in the Muslim world.
Most European Muslims surveyed agree that suicide attacks can never be justified. This view is especially prevalent in Germany, where 83% of the country's largely Turkish Muslim community say that suicide attacks are not justifiable. Most Muslims in Turkey, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt agree, while fewer than half take this position in Lebanon and Nigeria. Palestinians are the clear outlier on this issue -- only 17% think violence against civilian targets can never be justified.
But Small Pockets of Support and Doubts About Sept. 11
Of course, although American Muslims largely reject extremist ideologies, results from the 2007 survey do reveal small pockets of support for extremism. And the survey found that younger Muslims in the U.S. are slightly more accepting of Islamic extremism than are older Muslims. Those under age 30 are more than twice as likely as those age 30 and older to believe that suicide bombings in the defense of Islam can often or sometimes be justified (15% vs. 6%). This pattern is consistent with findings from Europe -- Muslims under age 30 in Britain, France, Germany and Spain are slightly more likely than those in older age groups to endorse suicide attacks.
The survey also finds that native-born African-American Muslims are less likely than other U.S. Muslims to condemn al Qaeda completely. Only 9% express a favorable view of the organization, but at the same time, just 36% give it a very unfavorable rating.
And fewer than half of Muslim Americans -- just four-in-10 -- accept the fact that groups of Arabs carried out the Sept. 11 attacks. Roughly a third (32%) express no opinion as to who was behind the attacks, while 28% flatly disbelieve that Arabs conducted the attacks. Fewer highly religious Muslim Americans believe that groups of Arabs carried out the attacks than do less religious Muslims. The survey also finds that those who say suicide bombings in defense of Islam can often or sometimes be justified are more disbelieving than others that Arabs carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
45 PICTURES AT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157641382648224/
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.