Religion

Survey: American Muslims Concerned About Economy

| by Nik Bonopartis
Members of the Council On American Islamic Relations participate in a parade.Members of the Council On American Islamic Relations participate in a parade.

American Muslims share many of the same election-year concerns as the nation's Protestants and Jews, according to a new survey.

Muslims identified the economy as their top priority when choosing a presidential candidate, a concern shared by most major faith-based communities in the U.S. Where they differed, the survey found, was identifying bigotry and civil rights as secondary and tertiary concerns.

The survey by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Social Policy and Understanding relied on phone interviews and online surveys, with participants contacted from randomized lists. Questions ran the gamut from politics and religion to violence and identity, according to the group, which describes itself as a non-partisan think tank.

More than half of the American Muslims surveyed said they've experienced "some level of discrimination in the past year," and 18 percent told the Institute that they've been on the receiving end of regular discrimination, which is the highest percentage reported by any religious group in the U.S.

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Unsurprisingly, Muslims who took the survey generally weren't fans of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner. Only 4 percent of Muslims said they support Trump, according to the Institute. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton enjoys the most support from American Muslims, with 40 percent saying they'll vote for her, while 27 percent said they support Democratic candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Those numbers closely align with American Jews, who support Clinton and Sanders by similar percentages, the survey found.

The authors said they launched the survey to better understand a minority community that isn't well represented in political discussions.

"In the years after the September 11th attacks in America, Muslims have been the subjects of frequent discussions but seldom among the participants," the authors explained, in a section dubbed "Why This Survey?"

Both Muslim and Jewish respondents singled out the economy as the top political priority in this election year, compared to Catholics and Protestants who listed the economy second, behind national security, according to Dalia Mogahed, the institute's director of research.

“It’s not that Muslims don’t care about the security of the country,” Mogahed wrote. “Their day-to-day fears are closer to home — to jobs and their families.”

Sources: Religion News, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding / Photo credit: User Elf Stermberg/Flickr

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