The Pew Research Center released a new survey on Wednesday detailing how Muslim Americans perceive discrimination against their community and their place in American society. For the most part, the survey shows that Muslims in the United States are not giving up on the American dream.
The survey was conducted between Jan. 23 and May 2 via landlines and cellphones. The sample size of the study was 1,001 Muslim adults living in the U.S.
Despite a 91% increase in anti-Muslim violence and President Donald Trump’s frequent attempts at implementing a travel ban against residents of six Muslim-majority countries, Muslims surveyed showed an unrelenting streak of optimism.
According to the findings, 75% of respondents believe Muslims are discriminated against in the U.S., and an overwhelming majority — 89% — said they are proud to identify both as a Muslim and as an American. Seventy percent of Muslims also expressed belief in the American Dream and that most people who want to get ahead and make it in the country can do so if they are willing to work hard.
According to Pew’s research, about 50% of Muslim Americans said it’s been difficult to be a Muslim within the past several years in the U.S., and 48% confessed they have experienced at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months.
When it comes to the direction of the country, about 64% of respondents expressed dissatisfaction. In addition, approximately 74% said they believe Trump is unfriendly toward Muslims.
Pew also asked survey participants about their viewpoints on terrorism and religious extremism. Far more Muslim Americans (76%) expressed that targeting and killing civilians is unjustified than the general public (59%).
These findings are crucial at a time when debates of integration and national security have put Muslims under intense scrutiny. It provides evidence contrary to the idea that one cannot be both a devout Muslim and a patriotic American, a misconception often espoused by the actions of the Trump administration and anti-immigration advocates.
For instance, anti-Muslim activists like Pamela Geller and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopolous have stated that Muslims are seeking to replace the U.S. Constitution and impose sharia law on Americans. Several other conservative activists have campaigned on removing chapters about Islam in their children’s world history textbooks.
During the 2016 Republican National Convention, in an effort to pander to the conservative LGBTQ base, Trump promised to protect gay and lesbians from a “hateful foreign ideology,” referring to Islam. In November 2015, Trump told an MSNBC reporter that Americans “are not loved by many Muslims.”
“We have to be careful not to send the message that people have to check their religion or religious identity at the door in America,” Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, said in a phone interview. “Sending the message to young muslims that they can’t be fully American and fully Muslim at the same time is extremely harmful.”