Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Study paints rare portrait of Muslim-Americans
with a positive outlook on life
By Mike Mokrzycki
March 12, 2009
First published by the Associated Press
-- Muslims in America have a much more positive
outlook on life than their counterparts in most predominantly Muslim
countries and some other Western societies, according to a poll released
The Gallup Organization study found Muslim-Americans to be
racially and ideologically diverse, extremely religious, and younger and
more highly educated than the typical American.
respondents to evaluate their life situation by placing themselves on a
ladder where the bottom step, zero, equals the worst possible life and 10
the best possible life. Gallup defined as "thriving"
those who said
they're currently on at least step seven of that ladder and expect to be on
step eight or higher about five years from now.
percent) were slightly less likely than Americans overall (46 percent) to be
thriving. Yet the proportion of Muslims thriving in the United States was
among the highest of Western societies surveyed, Gallup found. For example,
only 8 percent of Muslims in the United Kingdom and 23 percent in France
One exception: 49 percent of Muslims were deemed
thriving in Germany, which welcomed many immigrants from Turkey during labor
shortages in the 1960s and 1970s.
In predominantly Muslim countries,
only in Saudi Arabia were more Muslims _
51 percent _ thriving than in
Gallup found only 11 percent of Muslims thriving in
Indonesia and Pakistan,
13 percent in Egypt, in the high teens to 20
percent in Bangladesh, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and 24 percent in
Morocco. Gallup found the proportion "suffering" _ answering 0 to 4 on both
ladder questions _ ranging from 20 to
26 percent in Turkey, Egypt and
Lebanon and as high as 33 percent in Jordan and 45 percent in Pakistan.
In short, Muslim Americans look more like other Americans in their life
outlook than they resemble Muslims in most predominantly Muslim nations.
The Gallup study painted an uncommon portrait of Muslims in a U.S. and
global context by combining interviews with 946 Muslims from polling of more
than 300,000 Americans throughout 2008 and comparing them to Gallup surveys
in more than 140 other countries. With Muslim-Americans probably making up
only around 1 percent of the nation's population, few sound surveys have
targeted the group, despite interest after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In an essay for the Gallup report, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. _ the
first Muslim elected to Congress _ urged Muslim Americans to "step out of
the shadows of your own world, and step forthrightly into a participatory
"For too long _ and particularly after 9/11 _ Muslims have
withdrawn into their own mosque-defined communities, denying themselves
their rightful place in the fabric of America," Ellison wrote. "'Being
Muslim' shouldn't need to be explained, but rather be observed by how each
of us lives our lives, and the values we espouse. However defined we are by
our religion, we are equally defined by our nationalism; we are Americans."
Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage
points for Muslim-Americans, 0.2 points for all Americans and varying ranges
in other countries.
On the Net:http://gallupmuslimstudies.com