Archive for category Muslims in America

A Miniature Replica of the Muslim World

An interview with Zahid H.Bukhari, Director of the American Muslim Studies program at the Georgetown University, by Rita Rudusa.

You have conducted a study of Muslims living in the US[1]. What were your key findings about the distinctive characteristics of an average American Muslim?
During the Project MAPS we came up with five characteristics of the American Muslim community. But before describing them, I would like to say, briefly, that nobody knows the exact number of American Muslims, because this question is not asked in census. There are different estimates — some say there are about six million, in 1989, The New York Times published that figure. Some scholars contest it and think there are three million. Interestingly, Hollywood also mentioned American Muslims. In the movie Syriana one of the characters says that there are ten million. So, we are between three and ten million (laughs). However, there is consensus among scholars that numbers are growing.
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A Question on Religion in the US Census

The United States Census Bureau produces quality data about almost all aspects of the nation’s people and the economy. One can find in its annual reports personal data on class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, profession, occupation, income level, marital status, place of birth and origin of immigrant country. Besides the details of households’ facilities, the census reports also include data on Americans’ agricultural and industrial activities and resources. However, it is quite astonishing that the information on the religion of the American people is totally absent from the national census. These socio-economic variables are especially important in understanding the human behavior. While we question most of these variables, the “R” question is conspicuously absent. Several other developed countries including England, Canada and Australia, on the other hand, include the religion question in their censuses.
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ACMCU: Bridging the Gap between the Muslim World and the West

Washington DC, the capital of the United States, is also called a city of strangers. Each election cycle brings several thousands newcomers, elected and nominated, to this city. They make policy decisions about the future of the nation during their tenure and then at the beginning of the new cycle the majority of them decide to stay in the city permanently.

The DC diamond, surrounded by a circular road, the Beltway, has its own unique attraction. Every politician of the country dreams about joining the DC circle. However, during the election process the candidates campaign on the slogan that he or she doesn’t have any connection to Washington. While the media pundits around the nation always talk about ‘who controls this city’ and ‘how it works?’

Professor Sulayman Nyang of Howard University describes Washington as a city of twelve tribes who have their own sub-cultures, maintain and developed their own streets, restaurants, languages, abbreviations, etiquettes and sets of agenda. These tribes and their off springs could be explained as follows:
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Blind Men and the Elephant: Media Outlets, Political Pundits and the Pew Study on Muslim Americans

The Pew Research Center has issued an interesting study of Muslim Americans on May 22 and it was reported widely in the American media. The thrust of the Pew study, “Muslim American: Middle Class and mostly Mainstream” is that Muslim Americans are “decidedly American in their outlook, values and attitudes.” It is, however, shocking that several media outlets and political pundits projected Pew’s overall positive picture of the American Muslim community in a very negative and biased way.

Three issues from the Pew study have become the focus of media reporting and discussion: support of suicidal bombing and al-Qaida among youth under 30 and African American Muslims; Muslim’s belief that the Arabs were not responsible for the 9/11 attack; and the low count of Muslim Americans (2.35 million). The wildly different interpretations of some of the Pew study results remind me of the classical story of the ‘blind men and the elephant’ when the blind men tried to explain the elephant by touching one part and then describing it with their own perspectives or prejudices.
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American Muslim Poll 2004

Project MAPS: Muslims in American Public Square is presenting the results of the second American Muslims Poll. The first poll was conducted through the Zogby International in the months of November and December 2001. The 2004 Poll covers the following areas:

1) Demographics: gender, generation and ethnicity, U.S. born and immigrants, income and education levels, age and occupation.
2) Religious practices: relationship with the mosque, ethnic composition of congregations, conversion to Islam, importance of religion in their life and interaction between the mosque and politics.
3) Opinion and behavior on social and political issues: party affiliation, voting in the presidential election, impact of the American Muslim Taskforce, foreign policy and other domestic issues relating to religion and public life.
4) Fallout from 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq: reaction, backlash, racial profiling, war against terrorism, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
5) Media and financial habits: sources of news, exposure to ethnic media, portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the mainstream media as well as in Hollywood, stocks ownership and being in the investor club.

The project commissioned Zogby International to conduct the Poll through phone interviews of a nationwide representative sample of the American Muslim population during the months of August and September 2004. The questionnaire was developed with by the Project MAPS team and staff of Zogby International. Several questions of 2001 poll are repeated in 2004 to have a comparative picture of the American Muslim community Project MAPS seeks to document the role and contribution of the Muslim community in the American public life. It is a research project that began in 1999 with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Charitable Trusts are supporting the MAPS project as part of a larger examination of seven major religious groups in the United States and their place in public life. The Project is housed at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU).

Click here for the full report. (Size: 5.76 MB)