Muslim Americans are most optimistic religious group, study says
Owla Awada manages a popular bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, one of the largest U.S. Muslim communities.
August 2nd, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Muslim Americans are most optimistic religious group, study says

By Alan Duke, CNN

(CNN) - Muslim Americans are more optimistic about their future than members of any other religious group in the United States, according to a Gallup report released Tuesday.

"They have generally optimistic and positive views about government, its agencies and the future of America, but they report a significant level of prejudice and discrimination," said Ahmed Younis, an analyst for the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center.

Nearly half of the Muslim Americans surveyed by Gallup said they have experienced racial or religious discrimination in the United States, according to the report, which was compiled by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center from two years of polling.

"The American Muslim story is the American story in many ways," said Younis.

The report assessed the group's perceptions and attitudes and those of other religious groups toward Muslim Americans a decade after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Polling of Americans of other religions supported the Muslim American perceptions of prejudice, Younis said.

"The opinion of Americans is still divided and the perception of loyalty of Muslim Americans is still questioned by a considerable portion of Americans," he said.

They express loyalty to the United States, but face distrust from a significant minority of other citizens, the report said.

The polling found that 69% identified strongly with the United States while 65% said the same about their faith.

"Muslim Americans are thoroughly American in their allegiance and identity and don't see a conflict between that and being thoroughly Muslim," Younis said.

Ninety-three percent of U.S. Muslims said they believe other Muslim Americans are loyal to the country, while significant minorities in other religious groups doubted that loyalty, the report said.

Thirty-seven percent of American Protestants and 35% of Catholics said they didn't agree that Muslims living in the United States were loyal to the country.

Nearly all Muslim Americans, 92%, said they believed that Muslims living in United States had no sympathy for al Qaeda, the terror group responsible or the 9/11 attacks.

They are, as a group, critical of counter-terrorism measures imposed since the terror attacks and a large percentage distrust the FBI, the report said.

There is evidence of "a big friction" between Muslim Americans and federal law enforcement, Younis said.

Just 60% of Muslim Americans said they have confidence in the FBI, compared to 75% or more of Americans of other major faiths, the report said.

While 81% believe it is not possible to profile a terrorist based on demographic traits, just 49% of other Americans agree.

"There's a significant percentage of Americans that believe racial profiling is an efficient way of conducting law enforcement activities," Younis said.

Attitudes about racial profiling are also reflected in what Muslim Americans say about prejudice they face. Sixty percent of U.S. Muslims say other Americans pre-judge them based on their ethnicity.

"At 48%, Muslim Americans are by far the most likely of major faith groups surveyed to say they have personally experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year," the report said. "The next most likely are Mormon Americans, although less than one-third of U.S. Mormons say this."

Just 63% of Muslim Americans said they feel respected when they practice their religion in public. Eighty-one percent of all Protestants and Catholics and 85% of Mormon Americans said they felt respected.

"There is still a little bit of hostility in the public square as it relates to Muslim Americans and their place in society," Younis said.

Muslim Americans generally feel better off and more hopeful in 2011 than they were in 2008, when a similar Gallup report was produced. While 60% said they were thriving, about the same level as most major religious groups, they are the most optimistic about their lives in five years.

Americans overall rate their future a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, but Muslim Americans rate theirs at 8.4, the report said.

Jewish Americans ranked as second most optimistic at 8.0, following by nonreligious, atheists and agnostic respondants at 7.9.

Mormans' optimism was rated at 7.8 and Catholics at 7.7, while American Protestants were the least optimistic about the future with 7.4, the report said.

One explanation for their optimism is that Muslim Americans were hurt more than other major religious groups by the recession and have experienced more improvement in the recovery, the report said.

The election in 2008 of President Obama, a Christian with Muslim roots, may be one factor in their optimism, the report said. They give Obama's performance an 80% approval rating, the highest of any religious group. President Bush's approval rating among Muslim Americans was just 7% near the end of 2008.

With the exception of Jewish Americans, all other religious groups rate Obama below 50%, the report said.

Muslim Americans represent the most racially diverse religious community in the United States, the Gallup report said.

"For instance, Asian Muslims are easily the most likely in America to be thriving," it said. "Black Muslims report more financial hardship than do white Muslims, and black Muslims are somewhat less likely than other Muslims in the U.S. to be satisfied with their standard of living."

One "intriguing finding" of the analysis is the indication that "frequent mosque attendance might lessen stress and anger," the report said.

"It also takes away from the theory that mosque attendance stokes Muslims' anger and radicalizes them," it said. "Rather, Muslim Americans are no different from other major U.S. religious communities who appear to draw peace of mind from their faith."

The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center is a partnership between the opinion research firm Gallup and the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Muslim • United States

soundoff (603 Responses)
  1. Martin

    Make no mistake that the moderates are simply the lead in for the extremists which are the vast majority of Muslims. The coming Islamic dark age will set the world back to the middle ages if the Muslims have their way.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Dale56

      Martin, paranoia can be a debilitating condition!

      August 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • huh?

      Agreed. The are optimistic because their scheme is working.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • El Gigante

      Enlighten us, Martin, where do you get all this classified information about this universal Muslim conspiracy? I took courses on Islam in college, as opposed to learning about it from Fox News and nutjobs on the internet, so I have a very different perception of Muslims. I have visited the Middle East three times, and I know many Muslims socially. Feel free to share your own personal experiences.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • inthespirit

      Not paranoia, truth. We are a Godless society and will see what happens when our Creator is forgotten. "The satanically-managed man is often moral, upright, proud, and individual; he is absolutely self-governed and has no need of God." O. Chambers Allah is not God, Yaweh, Jehovah, Elohay Elohim...he is false.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Everyone calling Martin paranoid needs to talk to a few folks "on the street" from Toronto, Paris and London. You'll have a better understanding why people are very deeply concerned.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • El Gigante

      You think any of the cities you mentioned would trade their situations for the drugs and homicide we have in the States? People, wake up. Islam is not actively destroying American cities. Drugs, crime, and a pathetic public education system are the real trojan horses, and yet we keep looking for scapegoats abroad.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  2. Mark Bernadiner

    American – Islamic relations history:

    The reason why the Library of Congress has a Koran in its very early collection is because Thomas Jefferson wanted to read and study what gives "good" muslims the right to be terrorists!!

    A little American history for you as we had to deal with Islamic terrorism as far back as our country's very beginnings!!

    When we rebelled against British rule in 1776, American ships lost Royal Navy protection. Almost immediately, US ships came under attack and our crews were enslaved and held for ransom by...wait for it...wait for it...you guessed it!!...MUSLIM Terrorists/Pirates!! What a shock!! Your Muhammad would have been so proud!!

    Lacking the ability to project US naval force in the Mediterranean, America tried APPEASEMENT...sound familiar?? Guess that didn't work...and it still doesn't to this day!!

    Since we really didn't have any real fighting force at the time, Congress agreed to fund tributes and ransoms (per the Koran) in order to rescue US ships and buy the freedom of enslaved US sailors c/o Muslim terrorists. Sounds like our payments to Pakistan today...what a joke!

    So in 1786 Thomas Jefferson, then US ambassador to France, and John Adams, then US Ambassador to Britain, met in London with the Libyan's Muslim ambassador to Britain, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress’ vote of funding. This is the reason why Jefferson acquired your Koran because the muslin diplomat told Jefferson and Adams that muslims (terrorists) had every right to convert, enslave, hold ransom, and FIGHT/KILL us infidels because it is their religion.

    Jefferson asked, "Says who??" and the Libyan diplomat said, "Says here in the Koran" and Jefferson asked for a copy so he could better understand what makes Muslims tick. He read this book of hate on his return trip to the U.S. This is the very koran that made its way to Jefferson's very own library that Muslims today make a big deal about...but forget the reason why Jefferson picked up a copy in the first place. Opps...how they always forget the important details!!

    Muslim nations recongnized the United States back then as "EASY TERRORIST PICKINGS" until President Jefferson dispatached our newly formed Marines "...to the shores of Tripoli" to deal with muslim jihadists.

    Unknown author

    August 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Big Bob

      Thanks for saying what needs to be said. But they don't teach real history on our schools anymore.
      Kids are only taught that we went after Muslim oil after we pushed the Mexicans out of the southwest and ran out of Indians to kill. Imperialist Slavemasters all.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • SS

      Unknown author? Sources? Yeah right...

      August 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Imran

      who wrote it? Pamela Geller?

      August 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      “Give me any young Muslim and I will make him agree to be a SUICIDE BOMBER IN 20 MINUTES” …RAHIM ULLAH YUSUFZAI. Pakistani Journalist quoting a Taliban commander Kari Hussain

      Check this Surush Alvi video – go to 8:50 secs of this video.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Muslim in the USA

      You've done a great job in painting a dark picture of Islam. I wonder if you have actually read and 'understood' the Koran. If what you have implied is true, then given the muslim population here in the USA, your famliy lines would have been long gone. I am not going to waste my time tyring to verify the authenticity of the passage you've written, but I can assure you that there are rogue elements in every religion, claiming to be devout followers of the said religion. And that is all it takes for people like you to stereotype the whole religion and its majority peace loving followers. Let me ask you a question, how many muslims are there in the US and how many of them have actually been proved to be terrorists. Dont bother pulling out the calculator for that. From what I remember from all the news coverages, lets say a handfull from a couple million peace loving muslims.
      Other parts of the world are a different story. They need proper education and jobs to keep the majority out of the hands of the few brain washing misinterpreting corrupt ones......... and a whole bunch of birth control!.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  3. knk2169

    If you really think about, where are the Muslims happy? In Nations that are NOT run by them. The U.S., England, Canada, France, Germany and so on... Were are they unhappy and oppressed? Places like Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria etc. Just an observation.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  4. Mark Bernadiner

    Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil. Thomas Mann

    Islam is incompatible with Western culture, history, judicial system, and civilization. Remember, our judicial system based on Judeo-Christian values. Islam objects these values and Koran calls for extermination of Christians and Jews. Muslims objective is creation of global Caliphate and establishing Shariah Law. All this eventually leads to civil war, unless we will take care and deport all muslims from US and Europe. Look what is going in Britain, France and other countries where muslims clear declared their primary objective to overcome current social systems and replace them with Sharia law. Read below confessions of leading muslims around the world, including American
    and watch the Fitna on:


    Omar Ahmad Co-founder of the Council of American-Islamic Relations: "Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ... Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of
    scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
    Algerian leader Houari Boumédienne said at the United Nations in 1974:
    “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”

    Dr. Ja`far Sheikh Idris in article “Separation Of Church And State”
    said: “Secularism cannot be a solution for countries with a Muslim majority or even a sizeable minority, for it requires people to replace their God-given beliefs with an entirely different set of man-made beliefs. Separation of religion and state is not an option for Muslims because is requires us to abandon Allah's decree for that of a man.”

    Al-Jazeera’s Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, who is widely hailed as a moderate reformer in the West, said:
    “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor,” and “the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology.”

    A Saudi Sheikh, Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-‘Arifi, imam of the mosque of King Fahd Defense Academy, said:
    Muslims “will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it”
    Also read article “Arab-American author outlines secret 20-year strategy to undermine country” by FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN.

    Plus, remember, all muslims organizations in US have close ties to global terrorist organizations, like Hamas, Hezbullah, Brotherhood.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Big Bob

      Careful throwing around all of those facts. You'll give headaches to the willfully blind.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • AndyMandy

      Islam does not oppose Christian and Jewish values at all. You don't know anything about Islam, the "facts" you put in your comment show that precisely. You are the hater here, I don't know what your religion is, nor do I care. But where do your values come from to be such a hater and misleader? Is that how your mother raised you or is it that your religious values? What's wrong with my religion? I fast, I pray, I give charity...what's wrong with that? Unless you judge me based on something else? You have to be able to distinguish the religion from the person. Just like every Christian is different in its own way, every Muslim is also different in its own way.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      What do you have to do, in order to get into heaven?

      Muhammad's answer:

      It is very simple: Slay Jews and Christians.


      Sura 9: Verse 111:

      Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.
      ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #111)

      August 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • To rainer

      explain that to me line for line because I don't see that as the interpretation .

      August 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  5. humtake

    I can't wait until the Muslim religion has no dictatorial leaders. The only reason Muslims have a bad name is because they have countries that are ruled by Muslims who give them a bad name. When Muslim countries are ruled by Democracy and given the same rights as those in free countries, nobody will hear about Muslim terrorists or anything like that...they will simply be called terrorists like every other moron who wants to hurt innocent people is called.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      You make a mistake. Aggressive war and murder is the essence of Islamic belief. Islamic democracy: Convert to Islam or we slay you!

      Muhammad's advice for people, who want to reach the garden (paradise): Slay Jews and Christians!

      Sura 9: Verse 111:

      Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.
      ( سورة التوبة , At-Taubah, Chapter #9, Verse #111)

      August 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  6. The Mosque of Zorro

    Bug the mosques. Don't admit any Muslims into the military. Strictly prohibit any application of Sharia Law anywhere in this country. Require a human face to appear on driver's licenses, and in all public places. Ban religious attire at school. Defend the borders. If all these things are done, then let them live in peace. There are good Muslims. But there are some very rotten (and dangerous) apples with an anti-American agenda. And there are more of these apples in the barrel every day.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  7. Lee

    This is no different than what every ethnic and religious group who ever existed in or came to America have gone through. There has been a steotype of each, typically promoted by yellow journalism. It does not make it right. But it definitely is not peculiar to Muslims.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  8. Dan

    Ironically, Muslims are most miserable in Muslim countries but are happiest in the countries that they hate.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm |

    yes, they know they will eventually convert or kill the non-belivers

    August 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Laughing

      Yes, then again christians have the same mindset, guess we have to group them all together with muslims then huh?

      August 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  10. Shannon

    It seems to me they are optimistic because Obama is in the office right now.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  11. Jim

    This narrative is just transparent pc propaganda. "Multiculturalism," especially as it applies to Islam, is a fantasy that has failed utterly wherever it has been tried. The only question is how much damage cultural Marxists can do to Western Civilization and the Enlightenment ideals that inform it before the nascent forces of reaction re-quicken. Fortunately, when Muslim fanatics attack us once again, as they certainly will, we may have a well deserved respite from this ideological thuggery.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Common Sense

      I think we need to start profiling crazy right-wingers like Jim. Not all right-wingers are terrorists, but the vast overwhelming number of terrorists, christian, muslim, etc are RIGHT-WING. Jim is starting to sound like that Norwegian shooter.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  12. lame

    there is no god. just invented by man

    August 2, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • J.W

      There is a God. He was not invented by man.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  13. DrDiomedes

    Well, this was a loaded article! What a loud minority of morons ...
    Peace to all my friends out there ... regardless of race, creed, political allegiance etc. Let's cross Nietzsche's bridge into the future together!

    August 2, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  14. Barry Richardson

    There is no such thing as US muslims. There are people of different nationalities who do not have anything in common, do not know each other and do not care about religion. Stop this ridiculous generalizations!

    August 2, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • J.W

      How do you know?

      August 2, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  15. 2Bornot2B

    They should be optimistic. They now control the US Congress through the Tea Party Republicans who idolize and follow Grover Norquist a Muslim brother. How ironic. You Republicans point to President Obama as being a Muslim when it is your own party that is assisting the Muslim political agenda.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Big Bob

      Wrong on the Muslim Tea-Party. Correct on the Muslim Grover.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • 2Bornot2B

      Big Bob, Mr. Norquist has his own political and religious agendas. The Tea Party, unfortunately, has become just another way for him to peddle them.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  16. Fact-telling

    Muslim Americans are optimistic only because they don't have to care about the fate of infidels in the countries of their origins. What discrimination? America's discrimination is non-existent comparing to all the Islamic nations.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  17. I don't use logic

    The anatomy of the bigot

    My neighborhood gang members are Muslims
    Every/most neighborhood gangs are Muslims
    All Muslims are gangsters
    Europe is composed of neighborhoods
    so All Euorope is/will be attacked by Muslim gangs
    Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist
    Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim.
    So all Muslims are terrorists.
    Osama Bin Laden follows Islam
    So Islam teaches terrorism.
    All Muslims are terrorists and will strike, so strike them first, deport them.
    All Muslims are disgusting suicidal terrorists
    We are /will be surrounded by suicidal terrorists and gangsters in 2083
    We should do something?...? Its the end of the world!

    NB: If you are reading this and feel alarmed, google the terms "thought fallacies" or "inductive reasoning" and "catastrophic thinking" and its implications.

    The history biggest terroristsr had similar thought fallacies.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • jim

      Your example reflects the logic of an idiot, not a bigot.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Big Bob

      Nothing to see here. Just look away!

      August 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Definiton of Terrorist

      The definition of a terrorist is someone who brings terror to a place:
      So if Casey Anthony were a Christian she would be a terrorist.
      If Adolf Hitler were a Christian he'd be a terrorist.
      So Christianity teaches terrorism are you basically saying that.
      So you are technically saying that if someone killed someone and they follow a certain religion that religion teaches terrorism.
      And in the Quran it says, Surah Maidah 5:32:
      "On that account: That if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.
      God created us all and it makes everyone a person, so they deserve to be treated like any other person and do you know how you treat a person; with RESPECT.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  18. Liberty427

    Why shouldn't they be hopeful. They succeeded in blowing up New York and the Pentagon. They have been successful in ramming their own political agenda down the throats of our politically correct bureaucrats. They are getting everything they want.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  19. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    The problem is NOT about having a Mosque in Murfeesboro, TN, but a gargantuan 55,000 sq.ft Mosque built with Saudi Money to cater to a MERE 200 MUSLIM FAMILIES!

    August 2, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Imran

      and why can't it be 55000 square feet? Why can't they have it? Show me the proof that it is Saudi money?

      August 2, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Mary

      No one ever complained about that ginormous Chrystal Cathedral for the Mormons. Why should size matter now?

      August 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  20. JLP

    Islam does not appear to be from God, as my God does not reward people for killing other people. Lets suppose; If the Devil wanted to fool people and to turn them away from Jesus,what better way than 500 years after Jesus ascended to Heaven, give a "religion" to the most vulnerable people on the planet and then develop an army to kill everyone that does not subjugate themselves to it? Just suppose.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • CCW

      My god's better than your god. Na na na.



      August 2, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Laughing

      That Satan is one smart cookie huh, I mean, to be able to outsmart god is quite the accomplishment. I thought god knew what was going on and stuff, but apparently satan is just too darn smart. Sounds like god is a weakling though, maybe I'll go over to satan's army, he promises a lot of virgins, or was that virginians? Oh whatever, satan knows how to party.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • BF

      Funny, because there is no reward in killing other people. You should probably read both the Bible and the Quran before making assumptions about both books.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • DrDiomedes

      @JLP ... moron

      August 2, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Civiloutside

      Or, alternately, if you were Satan and didn't want people following God's law, what better way than to disguise yourself as a human, perform a few supernatural tricks, and start a religion based around the idea that the purpose of all of those laws has been fulfilled by your little show and now nobody needs to follow them anymore because all is forgiven? Just suppose...

      August 2, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • John Richardson

      The Israelites were rewarded for killing the infidel Canaanites. You are biblically illiterate.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Laughing


      Shucks! Here I thought JLP had the right of it, but when you put it that way, you almost make want to join christianity so I join my main man satan. I bet he gets a good laugh every time someone performs and exorcism and prays in the name of jesus.....

      August 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.