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American Muslim Immigrants: Identity and Belonging in the Shadow of 9/11

Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)

Abstract

Muslims have been a salient minority group in the United States since at least the turn of the century. During this period, domestic and foreign affairs have shaped (and continue to shape) a substantially negative public perception of American Muslims, often mediated through popular culture and political elites. How has such an environment influenced this religious minority’s identity and sense of belonging? This chapter examines that question by assessing relevant attitudes and behaviors in the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey of American Muslims. The analysis reveals little evidence for tension between Muslims’ religious and American identities. Yet, the findings on belongingness are more mixed with American Muslims feeling “at home” in America, broadly speaking, but not necessarily “welcomed” by society at large.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    These included Palestinians displaced by the founding of Israel, Egyptians whose property had been nationalized by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Iraqis fleeing their country after the 1958 revolution, elite Syrians excluded from government participation, and Eastern European Muslims escaping Communist rule (Haddad, 1997, p. 3).

  2. 2.

    Bagby (2012, p. 9) reports: “Ninety-seven percent of mosques use English as the main language, or one of the main languages, for the message of the Jum ‘ah Khutbah (Friday sermon).” This analysis, however, does not speak to the qualitative use of English nor does it specify which language takes precedence during the weekly sermon. More importantly, the report does not disaggregate the data to highlight figures specific to immigrant dominated mosques. Had it done so, the 3% of total mosques that conduct their sermons exclusively in a foreign language, coupled with the study’s finding that “[o]f the mosques that do use English, 47 percent use one or more additional languages,” would likely yield more sobering statistics on the role of English in these houses of worship.

  3. 3.

    These analyses report a simple difference in means in order to highlight the proportions within each group for each outcome alongside the cross-group comparisons. Separate secondary analyses confirmed that the relationships highlighted in the figure hold after controlling for the variables in Table 1.

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Correspondence to Youssef Chouhoud .

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Appendix A: Regression Results

Appendix A: Regression Results

Regression Table Corresponding to Fig. 1

 

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

Second Gen

0.27

0.16

0.29

0.48

0.73

 

(0.32)

(0.35)

(0.34)

(0.47)

(0.33)

Age: 18–29

0.20

0.07

0.67

0.12

0.09

 

(0.36)

(0.36)

(0.34)

(0.53)

(0.36)

Age: 55+

0.19

0.03

0.46

0.25

0.72

 

(0.37)

(0.41)

(0.42)

(0.78)

(0.36)

HH Income > $100K

0.97∗∗

0.88

0.81

1.11

0.01

 

(0.37)

(0.35)

(0.39)

(0.81)

(0.34)

HH Income < $30K

0.22

0.11

0.64

0.95

0.96∗∗

 

(0.33)

(0.34)

(0.31)

(0.52)

(0.31)

College Graduate

0.59

0.29

0.28

0.58

0.03

 

(0.28)

(0.30)

(0.29)

(0.50)

(0.27)

Married

0.68

0.63

0.76∗∗

0.70

0.06

 

(0.32)

(0.33)

(0.29)

(0.45)

(0.32)

Middle Eastern

0.40

0.48

0.57

0.47

0.68

 

(0.29)

(0.29)

(0.28)

(0.43)

(0.28)

Women

1.03∗∗∗

0.44

0.21

0.00

0.19

 

(0.28)

(0.28)

(0.28)

(.)

(0.26)

Democrat

1.06∗∗∗

0.06

0.26

0.10

0.41

 

(0.32)

(0.32)

(0.31)

(0.63)

(0.29)

Somewhat/Very Liberal

0.95∗∗

0.59

0.08

0.64

0.28

 

(0.30)

(0.29)

(0.29)

(0.45)

(0.27)

Constant

0.08

0.46

1.00

1.28

0.03

 

(0.44)

(0.47)

(0.43)

(0.84)

(0.42)

N

835

835

835

312

835

  1. Standard errors in parentheses
  2. p < 0.10, p < 0.05, ∗∗ p < 0.01, ∗∗∗ p < 0.001
  3. Note Model numbers correspond to the following questions (all responses are dichotomized): (1) Attends religious service weekly; (2) Religion very important to R’s life; (3) Prays 5 daily salat; (4) Always wears hijab; (5) Thinks of self as “religious”
 

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Second Gen

0.58

1.50∗∗∗

0.78

1.12∗∗∗

(0.33)

(0.32)

(0.38)

(0.33)

Age: 18–29

0.18

0.10

0.11

0.85

(0.39)

(0.37)

(0.42)

(0.34)

Age: 55+

0.41

0.63

0.41

0.37

 

(0.38)

(0.46)

(0.56)

(0.37)

HH Income > $100K

0.70

0.12

0.32

0.27

 

(0.36)

(0.35)

(0.39)

(0.32)

HH Income < $30K

0.81

0.52

0.27

0.51

 

(0.32)

(0.34)

(0.39)

(0.31)

College Graduate

0.01

0.01

0.68

0.90∗∗∗

 

(0.29)

(0.27)

(0.32)

(0.27)

Married

0.25

0.90∗∗

0.28

0.77

 

(0.36)

(0.33)

(0.40)

(0.33)

Middle Eastern

0.08

0.01

0.95∗∗

0.05

 

(0.27)

(0.28)

(0.34)

(0.28)

Women

0.64

0.72∗∗

0.24

0.53

 

(0.27)

(0.27)

(0.33)

(0.26)

Democrat

1.37∗∗∗

0.05

0.06

0.30

 

(0.32)

(0.30)

(0.37)

(0.29)

Somewhat/Very Liberal

0.13

0.01

0.02

0.65

 

(0.27)

(0.29)

(0.33)

(0.29)

Constant

1.25

0.51

1.07

0.51

 

(0.54)

(0.42)

(0.49)

(0.44)

N

835

835

535

835

  1. Standard errors in parentheses
  2. p < 0.10, p < 0.05, ∗∗ p < 0.01, ∗∗∗ p < 0.001
  3. Note Model numbers correspond to the following questions: (1) The Democratic Party is [friendly] toward Muslim Americans; (2) When law enforcement officers have arrested Muslims in the United States suspected of plotting terrorist acts, do you think they have arrested mostly ___? [ANSWER: People tricked by law enforcement who did NOT pose threat.]; (3) Most Americans are Friendly to Muslims; (4) It has become harder to be Muslim in the United States

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Chouhoud, Y. (2022). American Muslim Immigrants: Identity and Belonging in the Shadow of 9/11. In: Stockemer, D. (eds) Muslims in the Western World. Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99487-7_3

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