Many American Muslims well off, college educated, poll shows

By Virginia Culver
Denver Post

Half of American Muslims earn more than $50,000 a year, 58 percent are college graduates, and 36 percent were born in the U.S., according to what may be the most exhaustive poll ever done of American Muslims.

The poll, sponsored by Georgetown University, also shows that 40 percent of U.S. Muslims are Democrats, 23 percent are Republicans and 28 percent are independents.

Other findings showed that 84 percent want tougher laws to prevent terrorism, 79 percent support stronger gun laws, 68 percent favor the death penalty for murder, and 92 percent want stricter environmental laws.

The poll is part of a three-year project, called Muslims in American Public Square (MAPS), which, with the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts, is documenting the roles of Muslims in America. Further projects will look at six other major groups in America, including African-American churches, Hispanic churches, evangelical Protestants, Catholics and mainline Protestants.

A majority, 57 percent, said the opinions of Americans toward Muslims and Arabs since Sept. 11 has been unfavorable, but only 8 percent said that Americans have been disrespectful and intolerant of them in general.

American Muslims overwhelmingly favor government solutions to issues such as health care and poverty, both rating at 93 percent.

Seven in 10 Muslims are active in their mosques; 35 percent of men and 26 percent of women attend weekly.

Zahid Bukhari, who helped design the poll, said it is the most complete ever of American Muslims, both because of the range of questions and the breakdown by ethnic groups. The poll "destroyed the myth" that only 10 percent of America's 6 million Muslims are active in a mosque, he said. He was surprised that despite reactions since Sept. 11, 92 percent of Muslims in the U.S. believe in the political process.

Talib Syed, president of the Colorado Muslim Society, said there is obviously a great deal of diversity among Muslims just as among other religious groups. "I hope the poll will build great bridges of understanding among all Americans," Syed said.

Polling was done by Zogby International of Utica, N.Y., and sponsored by the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown.

Zogby interviewed 1,781 people in November. The margin of error is 2.4 percent.


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