Muslims in the United States are far more likely to say that they are thriving than are their counterparts in most other countries, a poll released today showed.
Forty-one percent of American Muslims reported that they were thriving, trailing only the percentages in Germany and Saudi Arabia. They were far more likely to be more satisfied with life than people in most predominantly Muslim countries, including Indonesia (11 percent) and Egypt (13 percent).
The Gallup study was the first to interview randomly selected American Muslims. The 946 surveyed were identified in interviews of 300,000 people for broader surveys in 2008.
The survey defined thriving as those who ranked their satisfaction with life as at least a 7 on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most satisfied.
The study found Muslims to be the most racially diverse group among all U.S. religious communities surveyed. Thirty-five percent were African American.
The study showed that the well-being of American Muslims was more closely related to race and economic conditions than to religion.
Asian-American Muslims were most likely to have graduated from college: 58 percent. That's about the same figure as for Asian-Americans in general. The lowest percentage of American Muslims who were college graduates was that of African Americans.
Muslim women were equal to Muslim men and other American women in terms of employment and income, said Ahmed Younis, senior analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. They are as likely as men to have college degrees. One in six was self-employed.
As many American-Muslim women attended a religious service at least once a week as their male counterparts. That's far more than in some other countries such as Egypt, where twice as many men attend a mosque as women do.
Those findings contradict the stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed, Younis said.
Asma Mobin-Uddin, head of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, agreed.
She said that some of the stereotypes, particularly of Muslim women, are based on cultural or other factors, not on Islam. Education, for example, is an obligation for Muslim women and men, but in some countries, cultural or political factors keep women from obtaining it.
In the U.S., women are free to follow their faith and pursue education and other goals. (MORE)