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Islam in America — resources

February 22, 2010

Following the Feb. 17 panel discussion on Islam in Europe and North America, I wanted to share some links that might be useful.

For basic data:

A 2009 Gallup Poll of Muslim-Americans has lots of great information about Islam in America.

Key findings include:

  • Muslim Americans are the most racially diverse religious group in the United States.
  • Muslim women are one of the most highly educated groups.
  • Voter registration among U.S. Muslims is one of the lowest of religious groups surveyed, at 51 percent.

The Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Look at Interfaith Relations looks at religious co-existance and also has some interesting data.

In the U.S., Muslims make up 1.58 percent of the population — the fourth largest group after Christians, Agnostics and Jews. Further demographic data is available from the Association of Religious Data Archives.

During the panel discussion I read an excerpt from an article by Jim Zogby of the Arab American Institute titled “Ramadan 2009: Islam and America.” Zogby writes a regular column titled “Washington Watch” which highlights key political issues for Arab Americans and appears regularly on news talk shows here. The AAI encourages American Muslims to engage in the political process.

An article from the Economist that addresses some of the challenges of being Muslim in America (great lede — check it out) is “Integrated, but Irked: The Tensions of Being Muslim and American.”

Perceptions of Islam in America will forever be classified as “before” and “after” the events of 9/11. After 9/11, things became and continue to be difficult for U.S. Muslims, yet there have been some positive developments in terms of raised awareness and understanding of Islam, particularly within the faith community.

In the Washington, D.C. area, for example, interfaith dialogue is becoming increasingly popular, with numerous groups participating in film, book or academic discussions, an annual interfaith “Unity Walk” and numerous interfaith concerts and religious services, including this one at Washington National Cathedral.

“Sharing Ramadan” initiatives by the Council of American-Islamic Relations and other Muslim groups have led to an increased awareness of Islam, and Iftars have become a regular part of the Washington, D.C., social scene. (The White House began hosting Iftars in 1996 during the Clinton administration, and Iftars are now held at the State Department and Pentagon, to name just a few).

Well I hope this is helpful and please let me know if you’d like any other resources.

— Lucy Chumbley

One Comment leave one →
  1. Elisa Di Benedetto permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing your resources and links with us, Lucy!

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