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Most Muslim Americans satisfied with their lives, survey finds

August 30, 2011 | 12:36 pm

Muslim_american

The Pew Research Center has just released the results of a survey of Muslim Americans -- and two sets of numbers stand out.

The first reflects just how much Muslim Americans like living in America. The second highlights the differences between Muslim Americans and the general public when it comes to the perception of support for extremism within the Muslim American community.

Let's begin with how Muslim Americans feel about living in the United States. Of the 1,033 Muslim Americans surveyed April 14-July 12, 82% said they are satisfied with their lives, and 79% said their communities were excellent or good places to live.

As a group, they are significantly happier with the state of the nation than the general public. About 56% of the Muslim Americans surveyed said they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country; only 23% of the general public feels the same way.

At the same time, 28% of Muslim Americans report having being viewed with suspicion and 22% say they have been called offensive names.

And now, about that extremism ... American Muslims and the general public strongly disagree over how much support exists for extremism in the Muslim American community.

About 40% of the general public sees at least a fair amount of support for extremism among U.S. Muslims, while only 21% of Muslims think there is a great deal (6%) or a fair amount (15%) of support for extremists in the American Muslim community. Also, 24% of the general American public thinks that Muslim support for extremism is increasing. Just 4% of Muslims agree.

One additional note: In a similar study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2007, just 1% of Muslims said that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians were often justified to defend Islam from enemies, while 7 % said they were sometimes justified. Those numbers remain unchanged in the 2011 survey.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Photo: The second annual New Horizons gathering was held in June in Brooklyn to help Muslim youths learn how to bridge their faith with the struggles and pressures of American life. Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

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