Muslim Americans Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream

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Muslims constitute a growing and increasingly important segment of American society.Yet there is surprisingly little quantitative research about the attitudes and opinions of thissegment of the public for two reasons. I parë, the U.S. Census is forbidden by law from askingquestions about religious belief and affiliation, dhe, as a result, we know very little about thebasic demographic characteristics of Muslim Americans. Second, Muslim Americans comprisesuch a small percentage of the U.S. population that general population surveys do not interview asufficient number of them to allow for meaningful analysis.This Pew Research Center study is therefore the first ever nationwide survey to attempt tomeasure rigorously the demographics, attitudes and experiences of Muslim Americans. It buildson surveys conducted in 2006 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project of Muslim minority publics inGreat Britain, Francë, Germany and Spain. The Muslim American survey also follows on Pew’sglobal surveys conducted over the past five years with more than 30,000 Muslims in 22 nationsaround the world since 2002.The methodological approach employed was the most comprehensive ever used to studyMuslim Americans. Nearly 60,000 respondents were interviewed to find a representative sampleof Muslims. Interviews were conducted in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, as well as English. Subsamplesof the national poll were large enough to explore how various subgroups of thepopulationincluding recent immigrants, native-born converts, and selected ethnic groupsincluding those of Arab, Pakistani, and African American heritagediffer in their attitudesThe survey also contrasts the views of the Muslim population as a whole with those ofthe U.S. general population, and with the attitudes of Muslims all around the world, includingWestern Europe. Më në fund, findings from the survey make important contributions to the debateover the total size of the Muslim American population.The survey is a collaborative effort of a number of Pew Research Center projects,including the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the Pew Forum on Religion &Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center. The project was overseen by Pew Research CenterPresident Andrew Kohut and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Director Luis Lugo. ThePew Research Center’s Director of Survey Research, Scott Keeter, served as project director forthe study, with the close assistance of Gregory Smith, Research Fellow at the Pew Forum. Manyother Pew researchers participated in the design, execution and analysis of the survey.

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