Examining U.S. Muslims’ political, social, and spiritual engagement 10 years after September 11.

Ten years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Muslim Americans are more optimistic than other major faith groups about their future, even as they report greater discrimination and less confidence in the FBI and the U.S. military, a new poll has found.

In the report by Gallup, which measures American Muslims’ political, social and spiritual engagement, almost two in three Muslims said their standard of living is improving, up 18 percentage points from 2008 and higher than any other faith group surveyed. This is the same period that Muslim leaders say has been the most oppressive for Muslims in this country, with rhetoric against their faith group appearing to rise.
Gallup analysts credited Muslims’ optimism in part to the election of President Obama, who has not appeared at an American mosque since taking office but has often spoken out about the need for Muslim equality and civil rights. Only 9 percent of American Muslims identify as Republicans, Gallup said. Eighty percent of Muslims in America said in 2011 that they approve of Obama, vs. 7 percent who expressed support for President George W. Bush in 2008.

At the same time, Muslim Americans are the religious group least likely to be registered to vote: 65 percent compared with 91 percent of Protestant Americans and Jewish Americans. The report’s authors speculated that this may be because many Muslim Americans are immigrants who have not yet become citizens (the poll did not ask respondents about citizenship) and because Muslim Americans tend to be younger than people of other religions, a trait associated with low voter registration levels.

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