US Muslims see friendly neighbors, but a foe in White House

US Muslims see friendly neighbors, but a foe in White House

US Muslims see friendly neighbors, but a foe in White House

US Muslims say they have experienced widespread suspicion about their faith in the first months of Donald Trump's presidency, but also have received more support from individual Americans, and remain hopeful they can eventually be fully accepted in American society, a new survey finds.

Nearly three-quarters of US Muslims view Trump as unfriendly to them, according to a Pew Research Center report released yesterday.

Sixty-two per cent say Americans do not view Islam as part of the mainstream after a presidential election that saw a surge in hostility toward Muslims and immigrants.

At the same time, nearly half of Muslims said they had received expressions of encouragement from non-Muslims in the past year, an increase over past polls. And Muslims remain optimistic about their future. Seventy per cent believe hard work can bring success in America, a figure largely unchanged for a decade.


"There's a sense among the American Muslim population that others are beginning to understand them and beginning to sympathise with them,'" said Amaney Jamal, a Princeton University political scientist and adviser to Pew researchers.


Prejudice against Muslims has "pushed the average American to say, 'This is really not fair. I'm going to knock on my neighbour's door to see if they're all right," Jamal said.

The Pew survey is its third on American Muslims since 2007, and its first since Trump took office January 20. He promised to fight terrorism through "extreme vetting" of refugees and had a plan to temporarily ban travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The latest poll of 1,001 adults was conducted by phone, both landline and cellphones, between January 23 and May 2, in English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points.

The last several months have seen an uptick in reports of anti-Muslim harassment, including arson and vandalism at mosques and bullying at schools.

In the Pew survey, nearly half of US Muslims say they have faced some discrimination in the last year, such as being treated with distrust, threatened or called an offensive name. That percentage is only a slight increase over previous surveys.


However, the figure is much higher for respondents who said they were more visibly identified as Muslim, for example by a head covering, or hijab, for women. Sixty-four per cent of those with a more distinct Muslim identity said they had recently faced some type of discrimination.


Still, the survey found evidence of a growing sense of Muslim belonging in the United States. Eighty-nine per cent said they were proud be both Muslim and American and nearly two-thirds said there was no conflict between Islam and democracy.

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