Busted! 13 American Muslim Myths

The first-ever nationally representative study of Muslim Americans was released by Gallop on March 2, 2009. It proves false 13 common misconceptions about this segment of the American population. Take a look and let me know what you think.

1American Muslims are Mostly Arabs

American Muslims are by far the most racially diverse religious group in the US: 35% African-American, 28% white, 18% Asian, and 1% Hispanic. Other religious groups surveyed are from 76% to 93% “white.”**

2American Muslims of Indo-Pak origin are poorer than those from Middle East 

Asian-Americans (from India and Pakistan) not only have more income and education than other Muslim Americans, but their quality of life indicators are higher than all other Americans, except for American Jews. Thus after the Jews, the Indo-Pak Muslims are the richest ethno-religious group in America.

3… are less Educated

Muslim Americans are among the most highly educated religious groups in the US.

4American Muslim Women are less educated than Muslim Men 

American Muslim women are more likely than American Muslim men to have college and post-graduate degrees.

5… do not have formal education as a priority

American Muslim women are more highly educated than women in every other religious group except Jews, with 43% holding a college or postgraduate degree, compared with 29% of American women overall.

6… are expected to stay at home

Muslim American women also are as likely as Muslim men to have a profession, with 30% in professional work and 25% self employed.

7… are not as talented as other women or face more pay discrimination

They report incomes nearly equal to men, compared with women and men of other faiths. Thus they actually fare better than rest of American women who show lower incomes than their male counterparts.

8… are kept home while the men attend the Mosque

Muslim women attend mosque as frequently as Muslim men.

9American Muslims Hate America and do not care to volunteer

Muslim Americans volunteer in their communities to the same degree as other US citizens.

10… are less charitable

Muslim Americans give slightly more to charity than other Americans despite the closing down of several Muslim charities, persecution of those that run them and frequent questioning or investigation of donors.

11… can succeed only when they break free from Islam

Muslim Americans are the most religious after Mormons, with 80% saying that religion is an important part of their daily lives – more than any other group except Mormons (85%)  in comparison to Americans in general at 65%.

and… their rate of weekly worship attendance is comparable to other religious groups at 41% despite the challenges of it being during the work day.

12…are conservatives

79% voted for Barack Obama, the highest percentage of any religious group. 70-80% voted for John Kerry in 2004*.

13Islam is a religion of the past
The Muslim community includes by far the highest proportion of young adults (18 to 29 years): 36%, compared with 9% Protestants, 17% Catholics, 23% Mormons, 16% Jews, and 18% of the US population. So you will find exactly twice the number of young adults among Muslims (36%) than the national average (18%).

By Waqas Ahmed




** For some reason the Gallop survey classifies all Arabs, Iraninans, Europeans, and some others as “white”. Per the Zogby Survey of 2004 the distribution is 32% South Asian, 27% African/African American, 26% Arab, 2% Iranian, 2% European and 11% rest: http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.cfm?ID=1303. A Pew survey of 2007 also confirms that the Arabs are minority and less than African Americans and South Asians: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/483/muslim-americans.

What do you think? Share your comments below:


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