For millions of Muslims living in the United States, Donald Trump’s election was a step backwards for cohesion and assimilation into the American fabric in which so many Muslims felt comfortable being in this country and proud to be citizens.
According to a new Pew Research Center poll released this week, there isn’t much that Donald Trump could do to ruin the optimism and pride American Muslims have in their country. While 74 percent of Muslims polled believe that the president is unfriendly towards Muslims and 64 percent are dissatisfied in the direction the country is going, 92 percent said they are proud to be an American. Under President Obama in 2011, 64 percent of American Muslims thought the president was friendly to their community while 56 percent were satisfied with the direction of the country.
When about the concerns and place Muslims have in their society, 50 percent said that it’s become more difficult to be a Muslim in recent years, while 44 percent believe there hasn’t been much change.
Interestingly enough, 75 percent of American Muslims believe there’s widespread discrimination and Islamophobia committed against their community. However, when asked about their lives personally, 80 percent were satisfied with the way things were going on in their life and only 14 percent thought Americans were generally unfriendly towards Muslims (55 percent said Americans were friendly towards Muslims, while 30 percent said they were “neutral” to them).
While it seems like Muslims, who in recent years have sided mostly with Democrats, and conservatives couldn’t be farther apart on the political spectrum, they actually share many of the same values. 70 percent of American Muslims believe in the American Dream and that most can get ahead with hard work. A majority of Muslims also believe abortion to be morally wrong. And just like the general public in the U.S., Muslims are just as concerned about extremism in the name of Islam both in the U.S. and around the world.
Also, more Muslims than the general public believe that targeting civilians is never justified.
While there are certainly Muslims who may embrace or sympathize with extremism and extremists, it’s imperative that Muslims and non-Muslims continue to engage each other through these turbulent times to understand that they have more in common than not.