A Pew survey shows that American Muslims are markedly different from Muslims worldwide.
A Pew survey that took five years and involved some 38,000 interviews in 39 countries, shows that Muslim-Americans are as American as they are Muslim in their attitudes toward life, peace and religion. Here are some of the more telling results:
63% of US Muslims say that living a devout religious life and living in modern society are compatible. This matches the 64% of American Christians who agree, though Muslims worldwide are closer to 54%.
56% of American Muslims believe that their path is one of many: that is, that many religions can lead to heaven. Americans on the whole say so at a rate of 70%, but globally, the median rate among Muslims was just 18%.
As for whether attacks on civilians can ever be justified, 72% of Muslims worldwide said no. American Muslims were higher, with 81% standing against those attacks. One out of a hundred American Muslims said these attacks are "often" justified, and that number ticks up to 3% globally. Much of the approval of these attacks comes from the strikingly high figures in Afghanistan (39%) and Egypt (29%).
Finally, 48% of American Muslims said that most or all of their close friends are Muslim, which is half the 95% globally who said the same thing.
It is clear that American Muslims should be seen as a unique ethnic group, just as we think of African Americans in Detroit as a different group from people born and raised in Nigeria, or, for that matter, white people in Chicago as distinct from their ancestors in Poland, Ireland and wherever else. It is taking the U.S. a long time to come around to this view, but slowly and surely it will.