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Pew Surveys Muslims in America

A new study puts the number of U.S. Muslims aged 18 and over at 1.4 million, about 0.6 percent of the total adult population.

The research, based on the first national probability sample of U.S. Muslims, offers a detailed look at the diverse community, and reveals most Muslim Americans to be "middle class and mostly mainstream."

For the study, the Pew Research Center interviewed 1,050 randomly selected Muslim American adults aged 18 and older, from Jan. 24 through April 30, 2007. Pew employed a number of innovative measures to achieve their robust, unique sample. The impressive sample design is detailed in their release, alongside the report and full questionnaire.

Overall, nearly 60,000 respondents were interviewed to identify the random sample of Muslims. Interviews were conducted in one of four languages, with 83 percent of interviews completed in English, 11 percent in Arabic, 3 percent in Farsi and 3 percent in Urdu.

And in an attempt to overcome potential cultural bias in respondents' willingness to participate, where possible Pew assigned female interviewers to administer the 30-minute questionnaire to female respondents and had male interviewers ask the questions of male respondents.

Half of the Muslims surveyed identified themselves as Sunni and 16 percent as Shiite. Nearly a quarter of U.S. Muslims were non-specific in their beliefs, 5 percent said another tradition and 7 percent had no opinion or declined to answer. And according to the poll, one-in-five U.S. Muslims is African American, with many black Muslims being converts to Islam.

The results, which will be further detailed on, have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

By Jon Cohen  |  May 22, 2007; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Posted by: GLEN HODGES | May 22, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Stick a sock in it. You bigot.

Posted by: Ahmed | May 22, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Glen for your ignorant word of hate, and you wonder why hate exists.. to hell with you mate and all your views.. in is people like you who breed extremisim...

Posted by: Iron Buddha | May 22, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Chew on this: the Pew poll data indicated that more than 53% percent of Muslim Americans find it difficult to be a Muslim in a post 9/11 world, and a quarter of Muslims polled said they have experienced some form of discrimination in the United States, in the past year alone!
Yet in spite of biggoted, xenophobic views of Islam as a "MURDEROUS CULT",(see above), statistics show that Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject Islamic fundamentalism and have made successful strides to assimilate into American society, even encouraging newcomers to adopt american customs.

Posted by: Heather | May 22, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse


Here's what my church says about loyalty to country: "The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community." (Cat. 2242) I guess we Catholics are treasonous, too?

Posted by: Nitpicker | May 22, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Everytime someone spews hate against the Muslim peoples, it simply gives aid to the enemy..extremists giving aid to religious extremists using terrorism to further their cause.

At the least, it's unpatriotic to aid the enemy by "proving" to them how much the American people hate all Muslim, to put these thoughts out as mainstream opinion. At the very worst, it's emotional terrorism and traitorous in that it gives terrorists just one more tool to use against us.


Posted by: j. swindler | May 22, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Heather, we all choose to chew on different things. You choose to focus on how quarter of Muslims experienced SOME FORM of discrimination.

What about this piece of news from the study?

FEWER THAN HALF of Muslim Americans - regardless of their age - accept the idea that Arab men carried out the 11 September attacks.

Posted by: Niles | May 22, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that jews, quakers, jehova's wittnesses, catholics, and Bahais are also treasonous?

As for my alleged treason (I am muslim) here is a Hadith (reported saying or tradition of the prophet Muhammad, pbuh):

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler, as long as one is not ordered to carry out a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no adherence and obedience." (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2796 & Sunan Tirmizi).

Note that it does not say wether or not the ruler is a muslim. This can easily be applied to "government" as well.

As for Glen, I hope that you find a way to cope with your anger. It's really no way to live.

I think the really interesting thing about this study is how people use the results. It's really a very effective litmus test to see where a media outlets agendas regarding muslims lie...


Posted by: John Waters | May 22, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Did you even read the report? What I find overwhelming is that 8% of Muslims in the US often or sometimes support suicide bombing. That is ~112,000 supporters of suicide bombing in the US. 40% won't even accept that Arabs were responsible for 9/11.
An overwhelming 58% have a favorable view of Al Qaeda. IMO it is Muslims who are far too tolerant of these views flourishing in their midst. They don't want to be scrutinized...but these numbers clearly show why they are, and with good cause.

Posted by: ScottW | May 22, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The Lancet and our own State Department put civilian deaths upwards of 660,000 in Iraq. Approximately 50% of our public supports this atrocity and brooks no suggestion that this war is unwarranted and illegal. IMO our society is far too tolerant of violence, torture and the murder of innocents. Quick to point out the shortcomings of others and generally complacent to our own. Sounds pretty close to how you're interpreting this poll.

Posted by: Ahmed | May 22, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, hopefully this will serve as a wakeup call to muslim leadership in America, God willing.

Also, as for that 40% that doesn't believe that Arabs were responsible for the 9/11 attacks... A good portion of those folks could hail from countries with state-controlled media and thus instinctivly distrust "the party line", no matter how likley it is...

Not to mention a healthy potion of urban african americans have a HUGE amount of mistrust of the mainstream media and government. Take for instance the opinions of entertainment acts like Public Enemy (Nation of Islam (which has nothing to do with Islam) supporters), Mos Def (a practicing muslim), and Kanye West (a practicing Christian). These opinions are considered fringe from the suburban white american perspective but not so much so in Brooklyn, Harlem, or South Side Chicago.

I was not yet muslim when 9/11 happened, so I don't know how relevant my opinions on the terrible events of that day are, sufficed to say that they are at odds with that very troubling 40%.

As for "finding life difficult", that is almost certainly racism and not creedism. How many sikh's have found life difficult? How many desi christians (of which there are many)? How many Ethiopian, Lebanese, or Jordanian christians have? How many Assyrians?

I am a white muslim, I rock the beard and wear t-shirts that read things like "Frisk me I'm Muslim". I have yet to be hassled in person. I actually joke that I get more "wierd looks" sitting in the mosque on fridays than I do going through airport security. :)

That figure regarding suicide bombing is indeed troubling. I wish I could just shrug it off as the result of mouthy young people but I can not. It is unacceptable that so many accept this as an option under any circumstances. I don't care how many christians think it is OK to bomb family planning clinics or blow up black churches. I don't care how many militias in michigan are stockpiling illegal NFAIII weapons and not paying taxes. I don't care how many violent and dangerous with unamerican agendas are hiding in the shadows.

Suicide of any kind is not permitted in Islam. Period. That includes extreme behavior of all sorts (smoking, drugs, eating too much, eating too little, working yourself to death, neglecting yourself, and so on). Suicide bombing is just one of many excessive behaviors that is squarely contrary to the teachings and practice of Islam.

Posted by: John Waters | May 22, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

What is a hate crime? Is inciting to commit a hate crime, a hate crime?
Is publishing Glen Hodges' viscious diatribe a hate crime? If so, is the Post guilty of a hate crime?

What good has been done here? How has the public been served?

Posted by: George Dawson | May 22, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Scott and John W,

You are getting it wrong, it's not 40% of American Muslims who believe Arabs were NOT responsible for 9/11, it's 40% who DO believe they were responsible, an even more disturbing statistic.

From another article here at the Washington Post:

Still more bizarre is the fact that only 40% of the estimated 2.35 million Muslim Americans "believe Arab men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

Posted by: Bill | May 22, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The Lancet 660,000 civilian deaths in the Iraq War figure has been widely discredited. Do a google search.

How many Iraqi civilians would have died if there had been no Iraq War (extrapolating from how many died in the 1990s because of Hussein and UN sanctions)?

Posted by: Eddie | May 22, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

That 40% of American Muslims do not believe Arab Muslim extremists carried out 9/11 is mild compared to the Pew poll a year ago which found that 90% polled in 11 Muslim nations did not believe Arab Muslim extremists carried out the attacks. Anyone notice a trend here?

Posted by: steve | May 22, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

That 40% of American Muslims do not believe Arab Muslim extremists carried out 9/11 is mild compared to the Pew poll a year ago which found that 90% polled in 11 Muslim nations did not believe Arab Muslim extremists carried out the attacks. Anyone notice a trend here?

Posted by: steve | May 22, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Some of the people commenting are getting the numbers wrong. 40% of those surveyed believe the attacks WERE carryed out by groups of Arabs and 28% believe they WERE NOT.

Posted by: jrice | May 23, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I misspelled carried in the previous post.

Posted by: jrice | May 23, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Lancet's and our State Department figures are corroborated by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Google it). Certainly, Hussein's was a mass murderer but using that red herring only underscore's my point.

Posted by: Ahmed | May 23, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

With all the back and forth commentary, just keep in mind that EVERY act of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world is perpetrated by people of the Muslim faith.

Posted by: Gerald | May 23, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Indulging in schadenfreude are you? Choke on it.

Posted by: Ahmed | May 23, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

How can we judge the facts if we have nothing to compare them to?

I don't know what to make of the "Pew Research Center Poll" survey that claims one in four young muslims sympathize with suicide bombers. What does the general population think? The results, I'm sure, would surprise many. For one, I sympathize with them, suicide bombers, on some grounds and I'm a young catholic man with no ties whatsoever to the middle east.

If I shared similar living conditions, therefore with nothing to loose, I would contemplate killing myself in hopes of creating a better future for my children. After all, I would have nothing to loose.

Posted by: Antoine Reed | May 23, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Fundamentalism originally referred to a movement in North American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism (see below, "History"), stressing that the Bible is literally inerrant, not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record. This original "fundamentalism" holds as essential to Christian faith five fundamental doctrines:

1. the inerrancy of the Bible,
2. the Virgin birth,
3. physical resurrection,
4. atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and
5. the Second Coming.

The term is now used much more widely, both to refer to fundamentalists of other faiths, particularly Islam, and to refer to anyone who believes that unvarying principles must apply to all people or every situation. In addition, it is often used as an emotive, pejorative term. One of the crucial questions is, to what extent is "fundamentalist" a subjective judgment?

Because it is a current issue going to the heart of the stresses of modernity, truly impartial historical perspective is hard to obtain; and more original research is desperately needed, so at this point a proper encyclopedic article is hard to write.

Now the question is those who call a Fundamentalist an evil on society aren't those people against their religion, their being, aren't they rejecting the faith for some reasons... reasons are the so called modernity as in an example nudism freedom to do as u will and forget about the laws of all the Muslims i say if you are not a fundamentalist Muslim you cannot be a true Muslim, same i can say for those who are Christians if you are not a fundamentalist Christian you are not a true Christian... now if we think deeply with reasoning and logic all those who don't want this faith of being a true religious person are against God and reasons are the pleasures of wealth women alcohol etc... i personally am a fundamentalist Muslim and i Fear no one but one God that we Muslims call Allah as is written in the verses of Noble Quran... Those people who write against Islam without reading its scripture and Without knowing about the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)cant i call the the bad fundamentalists becoz they curse something strongly and ignore something strongly without even knowing its value, without understanding the laws of the fact is Muslims are known to terrorize the world which is absolutely false and the absolute truth is that Muslims are being terrorized by the powerful nations which are against the holy scriptures revealed to prophets of Allah. Islam is the only religion that accepts all the prophets Moses, Jesus, Abrahim and Mohammad pbut... the verse of Quran is

"Allah is he besides Whom there is none worthy of worship, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. HE has sent down to thee the Book containing the truth and fulfilling that which precedes it; and HE has sent down the Torah (Law of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guidance to the people; and HE has sent down the Discrimination (judgment between right and wrong)." -- Qur'an, Surah 3:3-4

This verse makes it very clear to all people in the world that God kept sending us prophets to Guide us, but today we see no one wants to respect the creator, im ashamed of all people who think about the creations but ignore the creator his laws and call those people who follow his laws as extremists... Further more question is about terrorism in world, For me a terrorist is he who terrorizes someone who harms someone, it was Adolf Hitler(Christian) who terrorized the jews and killed them mercilessly, and that time when jews were dying it was the Palestinians (Muslims) who welcomed those jews to live on their land with open arms... and now you see i see everyone sees that it is those jews who are throwing those Palestinians out with the aid of American Govt... This is very brief of what happened enough to understand the heart of Palestinians, now when those Palestinians fight back only them are being named as terrorists. Justify please if u can. America attacked Iraq on the basis of iraq have secret nuclear or chemical weapons killed thousands and thousands of innocent people (Muslims) and until today there is no sign of such weapons and when they don't find the give another name to the war bringing Democracy to Iraq, today we see that more people are dying in Iraq than ever died... September 11 till today no strong proof is produced against anyone who have planned September 11.. they suspected Osama bin ladin till today a suspect on even BBC and CNN not perfectly sure no valid proof... But on no strong Basis America attacked the most weak country in terms of weapons killing many innocent people(Muslims) America is again involved in many baseless wars against Muslim countries. We Muslims are taught in Quran not to start a war but we also taught to defend against those who fight against you...if that is wrong religion then Muslims are wrong. some verses about war in Quran are:

1: 2.190. Fight against those who fight against you in the way of Allah, but do not transgress, for Allah does not love transgressors.
2: 2.191. Kill them whenever you confront them and drive them out from where they drove you out. (For though killing is sinful) wrongful persecution is even worse than killing. Do not fight against them near the Holy Mosque unless they fight against you; but if they fight against you kill them, for that is the reward of such unbelievers.
3: 2.192. Then if they desist, know well that Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Compassionate.
4: 2.193. Keep on fighting against them until mischief ends and the way prescribed by Allah prevails. But if they desist, then know that hostility is only against the wrong-doers.
5: 2.194. The sacred month for the sacred month; sanctities should be respected alike ( by all concerned). Thus, if someone has attacked you, attack him just as he attacked you, and fear Allah and remain conscious that Allah is with those who guard against violating the bounds set by Him.

All these verses ask us not to fight unless they fight us but fight them when they invade fight against you...and that is truth of life no one in this world will let someone invade his land.. we have to drive them out who drove us out not we have invade someone for no reason... and if we people look at the present world as just human beings not as a tribe or religion, we see we witness that Muslim lands are invaded and no Christian land is being invaded by Muslims, I am a 21 year old boy i live in Kashmir and i know that my land is being invaded by the Indians, i know how the they treat us, i have seen the brutality against us, we didn't invade India but they invaded our people want to drive their army out to get free but we are labeled as terrorists.. they kill our people and in turn we will not be quiet neither we should be... that is cowardice if we let them rule us.

Give us freedom there will be no war know about our faith u will understand the true meaning of Muslim there are many non believers i met Buddhists they read Quran just to understand my faith those are my friends and they all are in jeopardy confused of their faith and i saw tears in their eyes when they understood what Islam is, and they are afraid if they change their faith this society will reject them. But i saw fear in their eyes for one true God that we Muslims call the Almighty the most merciful the most gracious Allah.

My friends my purpose of this article is not to spread hate but to understand the facts of world... this article will not help anyone to understand Islam unless they read in detail the Book of Islam our Holy Quran.. i have seen many people cherry pick topics about war against Islam some write Qurans says Kill all unbelievers at sight, what will happen when people read such books they will surely be against Islam but my friends that is nowhere near truth just propaganda against Islam... if you have any questions regarding any matter please feel free to write to me at

Posted by: wasim | May 24, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Every religion has followers that do not subscribe/believe every tenet of the religion. The question to ask is, What are the teachings?

The more you study Islam the more you realize a fundamental fact. World dominance is fundamental to Islam. This is not only apparent by what you read in the news but what Muslims say, extremests or otherwise. One thing you have to admire is their constency - they are equal opportunity killers. These facts are obvious to any reasonably thinking person and are ignored by the child like mind of the politically correct narrow minded person.

One fourth of the world is Muslim. The long preached war on the infidels has started. The question to ask is, when will we wake up and actually accept reality? It is a bit late as your blood flows and you face the end.

These concepts are so far beyond what we believe that we deny that they are real.

Wake up America, before it is too late.

Posted by: Richard Nelson | May 24, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Every religion has followers that do not subscribe/believe every tenet of the religion. The question to ask is, What are the teachings?

The more you study Islam the more you realize a fundamental fact. World dominance is fundamental to Islam. This is not only apparent by what you read in the news but what Muslims say, extremests or otherwise. One thing you have to admire is their constency - they are equal opportunity killers. These facts are obvious to any reasonably thinking person and are ignored by the child like mind of the politically correct narrow minded person.

One fourth of the world is Muslim. The long preached war on the infidels has started. The question to ask is, when will we wake up and actually accept reality? It is a bit late as your blood flows and you face the end.

These concepts are so far beyond what we believe that we deny that they are real.

Wake up America, before it is too late.

Posted by: Richard Nelson | May 24, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who think only Muslims have this problem, the University of Maryland's highly respected Program on International Public Attitudes, in December 2006, conducted a concurrent public opinion poll of the United States and Iran to determine the comparative views of each country's citizens on a variety of questions (See:

One of the questions they asked was whether "bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified?"
According to this poll, 80% of Iranians took the strongest position that such attacks "are never justified," and another 5% said they were "rarely justified". Only 11 % called them "sometimes" (8%) or "often" (3%) justified.

Americans polled largely concurred, but at much different levels. 46% said that such attacks "are never justified," while 27 % said they were "rarely justified". 24% saw them as "sometimes" (19%) or "often" (5%) justified.

These figures are strikingly higher than the 8% for the general Muslim American public quoted in the recent Pew poll (1% often and 7% sometimes) and about equal to the number quoted for young people under 30 (2% often, 13% sometimes, and 11% rarely, or 26%).

Regarding views on 9/11, you might find this article about a recent poll interesting:

Scripps Howard News Service

More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.

The national survey of 1,010 adults also found that anger against the federal government is at record levels, with 54 percent saying they "personally are more angry" at the government than they used to be.

Widespread resentment and alienation toward the national government appears to be fueling a growing acceptance of conspiracy theories about the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Suspicions that the 9/11 attacks were "an inside job" _ the common phrase used by conspiracy theorists on the Internet _ quickly have become nearly as popular as decades-old conspiracy theories that the federal government was responsible for President John F. Kennedy's assassination and that it has covered up proof of space aliens.

For more comparisons of views on different issues, I suggest you read:

Posted by: Anne | May 25, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Hello all,
I just wanna say that lets not dwell on the article or the survey and whether it is valid or not. we should instead ask ourselves how we are contributing to world peace or the violence that has besieged all the world.
the question is what can i do to make the world a better place than i found it? how am i contributing to the endless cycle of despair and destruction?
well, ladies and gentlemen i have the answer for you. i am responsible for world peace. you are responsible for world peace and if i do my part and you do your part then peace and happiness is possible.
before you respond, i wanna you to just remember that most people are harmed or killed by their "own" kind. for example black on black crime is the highest crime in america, somali against somali, iraqis against iraqi, whites on white, and so on. the whole religious or thnic cleavges are just the tools the war mongers and politician use to gain their own ends. i am somali and there is nobody who has killed more somalis than somali warlords. so the point is for me and you to do our part and stop the violence one person at a time. I don't know about you, but i am gonna try to do my part and save my fellow human beings before i classify them white or black, palestinian or jewish, or muslim or chrisitian.
I can never think of dave toub as a jew, or mike laskey as white boy, instead i think of them as people like me. i borrow a pen from them when i need a pen and if at any time i disagree or have problem with them, then i like to deal with them as people instead of saying a jew or a white boy did something bad to me. lets treat every person according to their actions instead of their origins or group.
we can sit here behind our monitor and type hateful words, but that is just fuel for more bloodshed. so, instead lets follow ghandi's words of wisdom and each of us should be the change we want to see in the world.

I pray for peace for all of us. ameen(amen)


Posted by: feisal | May 26, 2007 3:37 AM | Report abuse

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