Survey reveals many different facets of U.S. Muslim religious identity, including concerns for the environment and social justice

A Pew Research Center survey of 1,001 U.S. Muslims conducted between January and May 2017 suggest 97% of Muslim Americans take pride in being a member of the Islamic faith. This religious identity involves devotion to core religious practices and beliefs, but also concerns about the environment and social justice.

69% of U.S. Muslims “put a premium” on working for justice and equality in society. 62% consider the safeguarding of the environment essential and “The importance of the environment is even more prominent among those who say religion is very important in their lives; 68% of this group say protecting the environment is essential to their Muslim identity, compared with only half (51%) of those who say religion is less important to them”.

While 85% of respondents say that belief in God is essential to their religious identity, 10% say that belief in God is “important but not essential”. In comparison, a 2014 Pew Research Center survey revealed that 86% of American Christians view belief in God as essential to their religious identity, with 10% responding that belief is important but not essential.

The Center also reports that, “For many, being Muslim also is tied to love for the Prophet Muhammad (72% say this is essential to what being Muslim means to them). About six-in-ten consider as essential the commitment to observe the religious teachings in the Quran and Sunnah (59%), two important sources of guidance for the Islamic faithful”.

48% of respondents view eating halal food as essential to their religious identity, with 44% say the same with regards to dressing modestly. Of this 44%, 52% were women and 36% were men, suggesting modest dress is more important to women than men.

41% say getting married is essential to their religious identity. The Center reports that “while there is little difference between men and women on this issue, there is an education gap, with fewer Muslims who have graduated from college (28%) saying that getting married is essential, compared with those who have less education”.

60% of U.S. Muslims says they have “a lot in common with most Americans”, suggesting that, while Muslim Americans “express great attachment to their own identity, many do not see their Muslim and American identities as being mutually exclusive”.

Share Button


Abdo, G. (2017) ‘Strong religious beliefs are only one part of Muslim American identity’. [online] 1 September. [Accessed 2 March 2018].