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US Muslims concerned about their place in society under Trump

25th Aug 2017
US Muslims concerned about their place in society under Trump

Hamed Chapman

The plight of Muslims in the US has been exacerbated by the election of President Donald Trump, new American research has found.

The early days of Trump’s presidency have been an anxious time for many Muslim Americans, according to a Pew Research Center survey. They perceive great discrimination against their religion think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream US society.

The findings come despite US Muslims still clinging to the American dream, believing that hard work generally brings success in the country and are satisfied with the way things are going in their own lives – even if they are not satisfied with the direction of the country as a whole.

Half of Muslim Americans felt it has become harder to be Muslim in the US in recent years. Almost the same number, 48%, said they have experienced at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months.

When questioned, three-quarters of US Muslims perceived a lot of discrimination against them just because of their religion. Almost two-thirds, 62%, did not believe that Americans see Islam as part of mainstream society. Trump’s election had made their plight worse, 68% said.

But alongside these reports of discrimination, a similar – and growing – share (49%) of Muslim Americans say someone has expressed support for them because of their religion in the past year. And 55% think Americans in general are friendly toward US Muslims, compared with just 14% who say they are unfriendly.

In 2011, only 4% believed that Barak Obama was unfriendly towards Muslims. This number had grown to a staggering 74percent  this year under Trump. During the six year period, the number of American Muslims dissatisfied with the way the country was going grew from 38percent  to 64%. Half of Muslim Americans say it has become harder to be Muslim in the US in recent years. And 48% say they have experienced at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months.

Despite the concerns and perceived challenges they face, 89% of Muslims say they were both proud to be American and proud to be Muslim. Eight-in-ten say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their lives.

The survey, the third carried out  US Muslims by Pew, showed that a large majority of US Muslims continue to profess faith in the American dream, with 70% saying that most people who want to get ahead can make it in America if they worked hard. Coming from at least 75 nations – the vast majority are US citizens that tended to be younger and more racially diverse than the general population.

Two-thirds (65%) said that their religion was very important in their lives. The survey also showed that Muslims largely share the general public’s concerns about religious extremism and expressed even greater concern than non-Muslims (66% vs. 49%) about extremism carried out in the name of Islam around the world. Muslims are much more likely to say targeting and killing civilians for political, social or religious reasons is never justifiable (76% vs. 59%).

About a third of Muslim Americans say they are either very worried (15%) or somewhat worried (20%) that the Government monitors their phone calls and emails because of their religion. However, overall Muslims actually are less likely than other Americans to think the Government is monitoring them: About six-in-ten Muslims (59%) say it is either very likely or somewhat likely that the Government monitors their communications, compared with 70% of the general public.

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