Muslim Americans Most Likely Group to See No Justification for Violence

Aug 02, 2011, 14:12 ET from Abu Dhabi Gallup Center

New Abu Dhabi Gallup Center report, "Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future," offers in-depth view of U.S. Muslims' political, social, and spiritual engagement 10 years after 9/11

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eighty-nine percent of Muslim Americans say individual attacks on civilians are never justified, a larger percentage to say this than other major U.S. faith groups (79% or less).  Similarly, 78% of Muslim Americans say violent military attacks on civilians are "never justified", a larger percentage to say this than any other major U.S. religious group (at 64% or less).  This is according to a new in-depth study by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center (ADGC), "Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future," released today at the National Press Club with the participation of policymakers, leading researchers, government officials, and faith leaders.

The report draws on Gallup Daily tracking surveys conducted January 2008 through April 2011 and Muslim American Polls conducted February through March 2010 and in October 2010, offering a representative and trended view of Muslim American life over the transformational past three years. The report reveals that Muslim Americans' life evaluations improved more since 2008 than those of any other religious community studied, and U.S. Muslims today are more optimistic about their future than any other major American faith group (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, and No Religion/Atheist/Agnostic).

Mohamed Younis, ADGC Senior Analyst, believes several factors may have contributed to this rise in positive life evaluation. "Muslim Americans have responded favorably to President Barack Obama's efforts early in his presidency to improve America's engagement of Muslim communities in this country and abroad, which may have led to a greater sense of belonging. We know that identifying strongly with the U.S. is associated with higher life satisfaction among Muslim Americans."

The study found that President Obama's approval rating is 80% among Muslim Americans, the highest of all major religious groups, showing the biggest jump compared with U.S. Muslims' 7% approval of former President George W. Bush in 2008.

Other highlights from "Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future":

  • Though most major religious groups rate their lives better now than in 2008, Muslim Americans' life evaluation ratings have increased the most. Sixty percent are thriving in 2011, up substantially from 2008.
  • Muslim Americans are among the most critical of the institutions and interventions associated with counterterrorism. They are the most likely among major American religious groups to see U.S. actions, not misinformation, as causing unfavorable views of the U.S. in majority-Muslim countries.
  • Nearly all Muslim Americans (92%) say Muslims living in the U.S. have no sympathy for al Qaeda.
  • Muslim Americans' political and social views are often closest to those of Jewish Americans, who are more likely than other major religious groups (at 70%) to believe Muslim Americans have no sympathy for al Qaeda. Jewish Americans also view U.S. Muslims as loyal to America (80%) and are more likely than Muslims Americans themselves to say that there is prejudice toward U.S. Muslims (66% vs. 60%). Additionally Jewish Americans and Muslim Americans show similar levels of support for a future in which an independent Palestinian state would coexist alongside of Israel (78% and 81%, respectively).
  • Muslim Americans have high levels of confidence in many American civic institutions. Fifty-seven percent say they have confidence in the honesty of elections, the highest percentage of all major U.S. religious groups studied.
  • Muslim Americans are as likely as other major faith communities to have confidence in the country's judicial system and in the quality and integrity of the U.S. media.
  • Muslim Americans (83%) are the most likely of all major U.S. religious groups to say the Iraq war was a mistake.

"The report provides a snapshot of the Muslim American community as we see it today," said Younis. "As we look toward the next 10 years, it is vital to consider what actions can be taken to positively impact the U.S. Muslim community." In addition to views from the Muslim American community, the report also contains a series of recommendations for government and civic leaders.

Mohamed Younis, ADGC Senior Analyst, led the release of the new report, offering analysis and recommendations. Younis was joined by D. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America. Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, Research Fellow in Political Science, Director of the Islam in the West program at Harvard University, and an advisor on the study, provided introductory remarks, and Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, moderated the discussion.

To view the full press release, media kit and report click here.

SOURCE Abu Dhabi Gallup Center