Muslim Americans are Doing Just Fine

According to a new Pew study Muslim-Americans believe people in America can get ahead with hard work. They are generally working hard & integrating into U.S. society. Their political views are moderate; they generally believe that those coming to the U.S. should adapt to American ways. By a two to one margin American Muslims think it is possible to be a good Muslim & a good American at the same time.

Muslim-Americans also are better educated and make more money than average Americans. I could not find census information on Muslims generally, but an overlapping group of Arab-Americans do well in terms of income and other social indicators. BTW - the American model of Muslim integration works better than the European one. If you look at the charts, you will see the details. Immigration and assimilation is something Americans do well. We should make sure to apply the "American" system on newer immigrants.

It is not all goodness and light, of course. Relatively few Muslims think that the U.S. war on terror is really about fighting terrorism and just 40% understand that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks. The survey did not tell which foil-headed conspiracy theory the other 60% are buying.

We can foresee some potential problems if we examine the experience of others like the French. France has experienced significant Muslim immigration for a long time. While we have mostly first generations Muslims, France is into the third and forth generations. This is important. First generation immigrants still remember the reality of their home countries and they know America (or France) is much better in comparison. The second and the third generations often idealize the lost homeland. They remember seeing some of the pretty pictures, but cannot see the smells or feel the oppression. If they go “home” for a visit, it has the holiday camp atmosphere. The sons and daughters of the immigrants tend to be less satisfied with their new homes. This is what has happened in France, where the younger generation is more radical than their elders, and even in our sweet land of liberty, fewer native-born African American Muslims completely condemn al Qaeda. Beyond that, younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslims Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can at least sometimes be justified. As Lord Acton said exile is the nursery of nationalism. On the hopeful side, our Muslim immigrants are better assimilated already, so we may beat that problem, but we should not ignore it.

While I find some causes for concern, I think there are more reasons for optimism. America has assimilated immigrants for more than 200 years. We have turned some unlikely raw material into Americans. It will be no different this time.

God has a special providence for fools, drunks and the United States of America, no matter what name we call him by.

Posted by Jack at May 22, 2007 9:30 PM
Comment #221068

Agreed, America has blended itself around its immigrants.

I have heard different variations of this study all day long, the comment that stuck with me is the poor job the moderate Muslim community is doing to rise up and confront their more fanatical elements.

By the way, didn’t this survey also point out that 25% of American Muslims under 30 years old believed in suicide bombing to protect their religion? Or was that just media over coverage.

Posted by: Honest at May 22, 2007 10:54 PM
Comment #221069

I heard on the radio today that 1 in 5 muslim-Americans agree with suicide bombers and a little less agree with Al-Quida (it was on a ms news break). They said that the majority of these muslims were under 30. I guess that would fall under your 2nd and 3rd generation theory.

I personally avoid stores and gas stations owned by muslims. Since Bush shined the light on the radicals of that religion they would have to prove decency to me. I can’t just trust them on faith.

Posted by: andy at May 22, 2007 10:55 PM
Comment #221071

Another research finds that among young Muslims in America, under 25 if I recall correctly, about 20% say they can see how suicidal bomb attacks to defend Islam could be justifiable.

The lesson being, it would be wise for America to insure that her efforts against terrorism NEVER morph into public perception of a war on Islam. Failing that lesson, America could begin to resemble Afghanistan, in a the split second it takes to detonate an IED on the George Washington Bridge.

We have entered an age in which civil rights, and just and fair application, of just and fair laws, have become indispensable in holding at bay, this new poor man’s warfare, which can be fought on the cheap with homemade devices, chemicals, and biological agents, not to win, but, for no other reason than to keep hope alive.

The movie, V for Vendetta, says it far more starkly and eloquently than I ever could.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2007 11:05 PM
Comment #221072

andy, what you heard was not what was reported by the research. 1 in 5 DID NOT say they agreed with suicide bombers. They said they could see how suicide bombing can be justified in defense of Islam. A very substantial difference.

If one is going to listen to the news, one should listen to it without projecting their own fears and biases into it, at least if they are are going to try to report what they heard. Otherwise, they damage their credibility.

There is a very large difference between saying ‘I understand why suicide bombers act to defend their religion’ and ‘I believe in suicide bombing for anyone who believes their religion is under attack.’

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #221073

The movie V for Vendetta would more remind me of the worst case scenario. Others just call the movie propoganda against the current administration.

However, I can’t argue your point too far on just and fair application of law. The problem is society is bi-polar and there are those that believe that surpression of rights must occur to protect some rights.

How do you win the new poor man’s warfare by sticking to our fair laws? It is like being killed as a pedestrian, walking accross the street when you have the right of way, and a driver kills you. You had the right of way but you are dead, the driver is punished. Both lose.

Posted by: Honest at May 22, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #221075


Why should it be Americans who are careful why shouldn’t it be muslims-Americans who should be careful? I’m Irish-catholic decent, we weren’t treated as kings, far from it, for many generations, but we were able work hard (potato pickers) and eventually were accepted into the American way of life. If we had come here with demands we should have gotten our asses kicked back.

Posted by: andy at May 22, 2007 11:23 PM
Comment #221076

David, your right I couldn’t remember exactly the wording. But either way it’s not good news.

Posted by: andy at May 22, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #221078

We are all Americans, andy, (well except for the illegal immigrants and most of them don’t vote!).

Do you think it is NOT wise to administer fair and just laws fairly and justly, as a defense against fueling the perception that our largely Christian nation is really propagating a war against Islam and not terror? That is what I said we as Americans should be careful about. Seemed like wise advice at the time I wrote it, with or without a war on terror.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #221080

David, it is wise to administer fair and just laws. However, what do you suggest when the other side of the coin is not interested in playing fair?

I believe, that you have to hold as closely to your ideals as you can until the rules of the game are not being followed by both sides. Then you have to be a bit more aggresive.

Before you hang me with a “do not embrace the unclean” type of argument. How does the real world work from your vantage point of a two sided conflict?

Posted by: Honest at May 22, 2007 11:50 PM
Comment #221081

Honest asked: “How do you win the new poor man’s warfare by sticking to our fair laws?”

I didn’t say you win it with fair laws. Fair and just laws fairly and justly applied give the enemy far less to work with in painting our society as evil and unjust. It is but one of many weapons to use in fighting this new poor man’s warfare, which depends intensely on their winning a war of words as much as creating chaos and fear with homemade bombs.

The strategy of terror is to invoke sufficient fear as to provoke an unjust and unfair fearful response, which then becomes a new weapon in the terrorist’s arsenal in spreading the cause. This is why invading Iraq was such a devastatingly bad move in the war on terror. Our invasion gave the terrorists a whole new verbal and PR arsenal with which to recruit much larger numbers to their cause.

We lost almost nothing in invading Afghanistan. We lost a trillion or more dollars when all is said and done, and thousands of lives, and a decade or more of fighting a strengthened terrorist enemy by invading Iraq. We handed the terrorists their second great victory by invading Iraq: their victory in overcoming their small numbers and very limited world wide appeal.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 22, 2007 11:53 PM
Comment #221084

Agreed, Afghanistan was enough. What we are faced with today are decision regarding being politically correct to a fanantical part of a respectable religion.

What came to mind in your response was not only an answer to my question, but also the Imahns and the airport situation. I believe we went over the top to show them the fairness of our laws. I believe they took clear advantage of our fairness.

Therefore to your point “gave the terrorists a whole new verbal and PR arsenal with which to recruit much larger numbers to their cause.”

I think we are in agreement, I am trying to focus in on how we deal with their abuse of our system. Sticking with the system would be a mistake when it is being intentially misued. I think it is the spirt of the law versus the law right?

Posted by: Honest at May 23, 2007 12:03 AM
Comment #221086

We all are, your right, but it’s you guys that have made guys like me have to speak in hyphens. What else do you want from me? Damn, just trying to speak your language.

As far as the rest, I could care less what the perception is. In the history of the world someone has had to deal with radical muslims way too often in my opinion. Now their about 20 years, more or less, from being able to wipe out whole civilizations. And were all worried about being 1 degree warmer.

Posted by: andy at May 23, 2007 12:06 AM
Comment #221090

Honest, in a war, one must be willing to lose some battles in order to win the war. Yes, if we remain just and fair, the enemy will take advantage. They will win that battle. But, if we cease to be fair and just as a nation of laws, then we could easily lose the war. The goal of the war is to protect and defend the Constitution of these United States and the way of life it affords.

If we give up on that goal, the enemy wins the war, regardless of how many battles we win and how many of them we torture, kill, and apprehend. In fact, the more we become like them, allowing the ends to justify any means, the closer we come to losing the war, the war to protect and defend our Constitution and the way of life it affords.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2007 12:12 AM
Comment #221091

andy, 3 degrees warmer causes massive losses. One degree warmer is 1/3 of the way there. It is important that we insure we not add another, because the price for allowing it will be huge, and last longer than al-Queda could hope to.

It is not an either, or, proposition. America has to be able to multi-task, and address multiple problems at once. Anyone of the following three, could destroy our way of life as we know it, allowing terrorism to flourish, failing to address entitlements and its consequences with and without them, and global climate change.

Failure on any one of these fronts, will seriously damage and undermine America’s wealthiest status and leader role in the world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2007 12:19 AM
Comment #221092

The media and anti-Americanism was not was it was in previous wars. You, me for that matter, have no idea the tactics that were used to win previous wars, and don’t act like you do. My Grandpa was a WW2 vet and those men were ARE what America should be today.

It’s funny, you’re quote “the Constitution of these United States and the way of life it affords”, you’all use that so little, only when the arguement is to weaken America.

Posted by: andy at May 23, 2007 12:27 AM
Comment #221093

You’re right again David, we should multi-task. But whose first? We are equally unimpressed with each others first priority.

Posted by: andy at May 23, 2007 12:36 AM
Comment #221097

I looked up your bio and thank you sir, and welcome home. You’re a great American. I can’t stop disagreeing with you but thank you, honestly. I’m off to play some euchre.

Posted by: andy at May 23, 2007 1:00 AM
Comment #221103
BTW - the American model of Muslim integration works better than the European one. If you look at the charts, you will see the details. Immigration and assimilation is something Americans do well.

Which is no surprise considering USA history, wealth and landscape.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 23, 2007 4:57 AM
Comment #221104


The media and anti-Americanism was not was it was in previous wars.

The media were very different in the past wars. Today is more about instant news, massive media network and, too often alas, opinions instead of facts.

Regarding anti-americanism, it’s more related to be the hyperpower since Cold War ends than anything else. It’s not capitalism vs communism anymore.

It’s US vs Rest of the World.

The neo-conservatice foreign policy applied by Bushies since 2000 did everything possible to make this polarity even more visible everyday. Canceling NPT’s US agreement to destroy part of its nukes stockpiles. Rejecting (“American Way of Life is not Negociable”) Kyoto protocol. Jerk diplomacy (Powell’s antrax tube, CGI 3D “satellite” shots (!), “We *know* where Saddam WMDs are. Trust us.”, Yellow cake forged document, etc) before Iraq War. Promoting “pre-emptive” doctrine. Forging war case to justify “pre-emptive” doctrine. Securing Iraq Oil Ministry but do nothing about the “Ali Baba” looting everywhere, museums included. Rejecting international offer to take over Iraq rebuilding daunted task. Bypassing Geneva Conventions using Gitmo and “unlawfull fighter” loopholes. Breaking down the UN reform draft proposition one week before deadline even if Bolton’s team had it since months and was faking agreement on its content.
Rejecting days long world’s help and money after Katrina. Rejecting that Internet root naming could be under international control instead of US one only.

Too often, it’s self-interest first and, eventually, only.

And you wonder why the Rest of the World see your country as a self-interest only driven nation, not as a leading nation to follow!?

Things will change when US will show more interest in World than today. On the Global Warming, it’s already changing, and europeans, for instance, are glad to see that being green is regarded as more positive in US today, when in the 90’s it was associated with being an utopian tree huger…
We also, here, follow with great interest the debate in US about healthcare system. As we do for your immigration and assimilation model, which is, indeed Jack, a model we should try more to apply.

I’m against idealogical unilateralism, like the one promoted by neo-cons at Heritage Foundation and the like. Unilateralism leads ultimately to be always alone.
If by being against unilateralism I’m an anti-americanist, then it means America model become all about doing everything you want alone.
Which is not the reality.

What you called anti-americanism is often anti-unilateralism. You’re not alone on this planet, and being the most powerfull doesn’t give you the right to do everything you want on the planet, as your country did recently. You do whatever you want at home, but the world is not yours, and people will continue to critic your foreign policy until you stop acting like you own the planet…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 23, 2007 6:22 AM
Comment #221106

It is very wise and important to administer laws evenly and protect individual rights. If we do that properly and consistently, that is sufficient to break up old group loyalties in most cases.

You may recall the story of the British administrator in India. He was faced with an early example of PC - the local custom of burning live widows along with their dead husbands. He was against it, but the locals argued it was a part of their culture and he should respect it. The official replied that both sides should respect the other’s culture and he would apply the law evenly. He would respect the rights and customs of the locals to burn widows on the funeral pyre if they would respect his rights and customs to hang anybody who did it. It seemed an elegant solution.

If we protect individual rights, many of the outdated customs will melt away, as individuals demand their individual over group rights.

Posted by: Jack at May 23, 2007 7:56 AM
Comment #221113

Many of the Muslims I know or knew I met in college. They were here because their families could afford to send them. Because they got good educations, they were able to get good jobs. I don’t have any data on this but I expect this is true of many Muslim immigrants in this country.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 23, 2007 9:13 AM
Comment #221115

Check these out.

Islamberg, New York
Ahmedabad, Virginia
Holy Islamville, South Carolina

These communities were formed by Jamaat ul-Fuqra which interpreted is “community of the impoverished”. These towns have “No Trespassing” signs surrounding the town. I would take that to mean “Ole Whitey-Red-Blood-American” is not welcomed to their compounds.

Are they within our gates?
Are they preparing for the mother of all attacks?
Are they training for terrorists activity within
our borders?

Since locating these three towns I have not had the time to search for more, but do we need more?

Posted by: tomh at May 23, 2007 10:31 AM
Comment #221118

>>Relatively few Muslims think that the U.S. war on terror is really about fighting terrorism and just 40% understand that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks.


Perhaps they don’t believe it because of the ‘other’ lies they (and we) have been fed. Did you ever hear of the boy who cried wolf? If I lied/exagerated/falsified/prevaricated and covered up for a week, would you believe me on the eighth day?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 23, 2007 11:17 AM
Comment #221248

tomh has his tinfoil hat on, now.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at May 24, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #221273

Mental Whimp
From your comment I take it you have not tried to verify my comments, so you looked skyward and saw the tinfoil and thought that would be a good response from a whimp. I don’t look good in tinfoil, so I abstain from it and save it for the hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill.

Posted by: tomh at May 25, 2007 3:06 AM
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