MATTERS OF FAITH
The first scientific snapshot of American Muslim voters depicts a well- educated, family oriented group that is younger than the general population and favors active engagement in US society.
A survey released last week shows 62 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher (compared with 30 percent for the US in general), including 48 percent of Muslim women. Some 78 percent are married, and 43 percent have a household income of $50,000 or more.
In political orientation, 42 percent call themselves Democrats, 17 percent say they are Republican, and 28 percent do not belong to a party. Almost 90 percent vote regularly.
On the issues, they rank education as most important (25 percent), followed by civil liberties (24 percent) - a prime concern since 9/11. Next come the conflicts in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon (20 percent) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (18 percent).
When asked about religious affiliation, 40 percent respond "just a Muslim." Another 36 percent say they are Sunni, 12 percent identify as Shiite, and 2 percent say Sufi (a mystical tradition).
As for religious practice, 31 percent attend mosque weekly, while 27 percent say they seldom or never attend. A majority (54 percent) say they are not very involved or not at all involved in mosque activity aside from attendance at formal prayers.
A large majority (84 percent) believe Muslims should emphasize shared values with Christians and Jews, and 77 percent say they worship the same God. Yet 55 percent are afraid the war on terror has become a war on Islam.