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Sunday, June 2, 2013

US Muslims in a Global Context

A report released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life ("The World's Muslims") suggests that American Muslims tend to be more moderate in their views than are Muslims worldwide. For example,
  • About half of U.S. Muslims say that all (7%) or most (41%) of their close friends are followers of Islam, and half say that some (36%) or hardly any (14%) of their close friends are Muslim. By contrast, Muslims in other countries typically report that all or most of their close friends are Muslim (global median = 95%)
  • This may help explain why the US is the only country where a majority of Muslims (56%) believe that people from other faiths can attain eternal life (64% of American Christians believe this). In most other countries, only a small minority of Muslims hold this belief (median = 18%). 
  • 81% of US Muslim respondents held that suicide bombing is never justified (7% said it was justified to defend Islam, and 1% said it was sometimes justified). Worldwide, most Muslims reject suicide bombing, but in some countries, significant minorities (e.g., Bangladesh (26%), Egypt (29%), Afghanistan (39%)) think it is sometimes justified.
  • Approximately six-in-ten U.S. Muslims (59%) say that in general there is no conflict between science and religion. About half of Muslims worldwide agree with this statement.
  • With regards to evolution, however, 45% of US Muslims believe humans and other living things have evolved over time, while 44% disagree (46% of US Christians say they believe in evolution). Worldwide, slightly more than half of Muslims believe that humans evolved over time (median = 53%)
The report explores Mulsim views in seven categories: Islamic law, religion and politics, morality, women, relations among Muslims, interfaith relations, and religion, science and pop culture. It is based on a survey which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in over 80 languages with Muslims across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It contains a special section US Muslims ("Appendix A: U.S. Muslims — Views on Religion and Society in a Global Context"), which compares the results of "The World Muslims" survey to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey of American Muslims.

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