A Pew poll out today shows an interesting trend in the attitudes of American Muslims toward various aspects of American society. The poll is here, the Washington Post has the story, and below are a few highlights:
- 43 percent of American Muslims view US counterterrorism efforts as sincere, up from 26 percent in 2007.
- Since 2007, more American Muslims report that “someone expressed support for you”. At the same time, however, there has been an increase in “people acting suspicious” towards American Muslims, “being called offensive names”, “being singled out by airport security”, “being singled out by other law enforcement officers”, and “being singled out or attacked”.
- Despite that, the clear majority of American Muslims are satisfied with life in the United States: 82 percent are happy with the way things are going in their lives, and 79 percent view their communities as good places to live.
- Similarly, 66 percent believe life in the US is better than life in most Muslim countries.
- 81 percent of Muslims in the US say suicide bombs should never be used to defend Islam from its enemies. This is quite a contrast with the West Bank and Gaza, where only 19 percent of Palestinian Muslims feel that way.
- Importantly, nearly half (48 percent) of American Muslims feel that American Muslim leaders have not done enough to voice opposition to global Islamic extremism.
That a small but not insignificant number of American Muslims have different views makes life complicated for all Americans of whatever religion. The country has real enemies who would like to do us harm, but the overwhelming majority of American Muslims deserve and should have the full respect and friendship of their neighbors — to say nothing of the full and equal protection of the law. It isn’t easy to keep the two objectives in balance, and we will never get it exactly right, but Americans of all faiths and no faith are working hard to get this right and the signs are that we are doing OK — and getting better.