Despite all the "bad news" there is good news in a new poll:
A decade after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a Gallup poll released Tuesday found that the vast majority of Muslim Americans say they are loyal to the United States and optimistic about the future, even though they are more likely than other religious groups to say they recently experienced discrimination.
Nine out of 10 Muslim Americans said that their co-religionists in the United States were not sympathetic to Al Qaeda, the group held responsible for the 2001 attacks. Majorities in other religious groups agreed that Muslim Americans did not sympathize with Al Qaeda, but the percentages were much lower.
The poll in many ways contradicts the stereotype of Muslim Americans as an alienated and discontented religious minority. It was conducted by telephone from Feb. 10 to March 11, 2010, and Oct. 1 to 21, 2010, by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, a Gallup-affiliated research group based in the United Arab Emirates. The poll, which included interviews with 2,482 adults of whom 475 said they were Muslim, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus seven percentage points for Muslims.
“The prejudice and discrimination are definitely there, and that’s something we have consistently seen in the data,” Mr. Younis said. “But at the same time many of the people in the Muslim-American community seem to be doing relatively well, and part of their doing well is being able to be full-fledged Americans, to participate in the American experience.”
The poll found that Muslim Americans were the most likely of any religious group to express confidence in the fairness of elections. The researchers speculated that this might be because of their high levels of support for President Obama, who said early in his term that he would make it a priority to repair relationships with the Muslim world.
One of President Obama's greatest successes since assuming office is largely changing the nature of America's reputation across the globe from one that is adversarial to one that is partnership based. His speech in Cairo went along way toward building bridges in the Muslim world.
More importantly, President Obama's steadfast support of Muslim Americans has helped to build trust that was violated during the previous administration. President Obama deserves credit, for example, for speaking out in support of building a new mosque in New York City and for having his administration refute charges made by U.S. Rep. Peter King that Muslim Americans are disloyal.
Muslim Americans have proven time and time again that like most Americans they are committed to our democracy - we witness this daily as they serve in public office, serve in the armed forces, and work as first responders - and believe as all good Americans do that E pluribus unum - Out of many, one. Those in the Tea Party and on right-wing talk radio will continue to bash Muslims to divide Americans along religious and cultural lines but each day ordinary Muslim Americans show us the path to a better America is built through unity and common purpose.