A Survey About Muslim Americans

Zogby has done a survey of American Muslims for Project MAPS. Here are some poll results I found interesting:

  • 82% of American Muslims are registered to vote this year. The top reason for not registering is not being a citizen (59%).
  • Some vocal, conservative Muslims have the view that voting in a Western country is un-Islamic. Only 2% of the American Muslims who have not registered to vote have done so because they consider it un-Islamic. Combined with the high voter registration, this completely rejects the “voting is un-Islamic” viewpoint.
  • American Muslims are enthusiastic about voting in the Presidential elections this year. 88% of those registered are very likely to vote while 7% are somewhat likely.
  • In terms of partisan affiliation, half are Democrats while only 12% are Republican. This has changed from 40%-23% Democratic advantage in 2001.
  • With respect to political ideology, 11% classify themselves as Progressive/very liberal, 19% as liberal, 40% as moderate, 16% as conservative, 2% as very conservative, and 2% as libertarian. [This doesn’t seem different from the general US population. Does anyone have a link to such data?]
  • The Muslim American vote is very lopsided this year with 76% favoring Senator Kerry and only 7% for President Bush.
  • What is even more interesting is that even among Republicans, Kerry/Edwards lead by a near two-to-one margin, 50% to 28%.
  • The group in which Bush does best is those who are very conservative. They support Bush 27% versus 52% for Kerry.
  • For American Muslims, the most important factor in deciding who to vote for is domestic policy (44%) followed by foreign policy (34%).
  • Eighty-six percent of Muslims say it is important for them to participate in politics.
  • Like most voters, Muslim voters also have the tendency to view their 2000 vote differently than the reality. In the 2004 survey, 38% say they voted for Gore and 27% for Bush. However, in the 2001 poll, Bush voters were 42% compared to 31% for Gore.
  • A majority (64%) of American Muslims were born abroad.
  • Four-fifths (79%) of American Muslims were raised Muslim, but one-fifth (20%) are converts. More women than men are converts (25% versus 17%).
  • South Asians are the largest group among American Muslims at 34%, followed by Arabs (26%), African American (20%) and African (7%). A majority of the South Asians are of Pakistani origin.
  • 59% of those surveyed have at least a college degree. The figure for all US adults 25 years or older with at least a Bachelor’s degree is 24.4%.
  • Similarly, a third have income of $75,000 or more.
  • 10% of the American Muslims surveyed have a spouse who is not Muslim.
  • Islamic financial institutions have taken off in recent years in the Middle East and the UK (among other places). However, it seems they are not very popular among American Muslims as only 4% have stocks in such institutions.
  • Vast majorities of Muslims agree that:
    • Muslims should donate to non-Muslim social service programs like aid for the homeless.
    • Muslims should participate in the political process.
    • Muslims should participate in interfaith activities.
    • Muslims should financially support worthy non-Muslim political candidates.
    • The influence of religion and moral values in American public life should increase.
  • A majority (51%) of American Muslims say this is a good time to be a Muslim in America. Slightly more than a third (36%) say it is a bad time.
  • Muslim Americans are more likely to support the war in Afghanistan than the war in Iraq, with 35% supporting the former and 13% supporting the latter. In both cases, opposition outweighs support.
  • Nearly four-in-five (78%) American Muslims believe that the war in Iraq could lead to more terrorism aimed at the United States.
  • American Muslims overwhelmingly believe that the Iraq war could lead to more instability in the Mideast (82%). But 28% also believe the war could lead to more democracy in the Arab world.
  • 66% think that the U.S. should reduce its support of undemocratic regimes in the Muslim world.
  • 69% support stronger laws to fight terrorism.
  • 60% favor stem cell research.
  • 55% support making abortion more difficult to obtain.
  • 62% oppose human cloning research.
  • 52% support forcing every American citizen to speak English fluently.
  • 51% favor allowing public schools to display the 10 Commandments.
  • 79% oppose gay marriage.
  • 29% of American Muslims say they attend mosque more than once a week. 25% attend it once a week for the Friday prayers. 10% attend once or twice a month. 16% attend a few times a year usually on Eid. 9% seldom attend a mosque and 10% never do.
  • The group most likely to attend mosque is African Americans. The least likely: Arabs.
  • Three-fifths of Muslims rate the religious leadership of their mosque positively, and a third rate it excellent. Slightly more than a quarter rate the religious leadership of their mosque negatively.
  • Like all people, Muslims also try to sound better at following their religion than they actually do. The figures for praying seem exaggerated to me since almost half say they prayer five times a day. 22% do some of the 5 prayers daily. 15% pray occasionally while 5% pray only for Eid and 7% never pray.
  • Only a quarter of Muslims watch media targeted to ethnic groups.

Hat tip: Al-Muhajabah.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


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  2. I’m still curious about this one:

    51% favor allowing public schools to display the 10 Commandments.

    I mean, given that this was a survey of Muslims.

  3. Al-Muhajabah: I am a bit surprised but not much. A number of Muslims I know think that secularism is the major threat and not other religions, especially not Christianity. Plus there is less of a concept of the separation of church and state in their minds. In fact,t hey would like more religion in the public sphere. That should logically lead to the result that you mention.

    What do you think? Does that sound plausible?

  4. In reading medieval history texts, I’ve discovered Islam accepted a lot of Jewish tradition in one form or another to flesh out the lives of the Prophets. Is there any tradition of the 10 Commandments in Islam, even if it’s not in the Qur’an?

  5. “I’ve discovered Islam accepted a lot of Jewish tradition”

    Yes, these are classed under isra’iliyyat in the hadith literature at least. The use of isra’iliyyat, however, was cautious, at least by commentators of the Qur’an and the muhaditheen.

    “Is there any tradition of the 10 Commandments in Islam, even if it’s not in the Qur’an?”

    I have never come across anything. Happy to be pushed in the right direction by someone else.

    I believe modern Muslims, especially those in the US where this is an issue and keen to show that theirs is a religious tradition closely aligned with Judaism and Chrisitianity, will point out the Ten Commandments from the Qur’an. (Not that there is anything wrong with this.)

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