20 Years After 9/11: Negative Image of Islam Persists in the United States

September 28, 2021
Source: fsspx.news
Islamic Center of America, Michigan, the largest mosque in the United States

The negative perception of Islam in American public opinion has clearly increased during the past 20 years, as shown in the recent study by the Pew Research Center.

In 2007, an estimated 2.35 million Muslims lived on American soil, a figure that represented 0.8% of the then total population.

A projection made in 2015 by the Pew Research Center (PRC) suggests that this figure should reach 3.85 million in 2020, or about 1.1% of the American population.

However, the growth of the Muslim population due to immigration, if it remains a constant, was slowed under Donald Trump's tenure, due to immigration policy changes.

However, according to the PRC, the continuous flow of Muslim immigrants to the United States on the one hand, and the tendency of Muslims to have a higher number of children than other Americans, has increased their population.

As for immigration, the United States admitted only about 12,000 refugees in fiscal year 2020: there were 54,000 in Donald Trump's first year in the White House, and 85,000 in the last year of the Obama era.

Refugee reception figures for 2021 are expected to approach - or exceed - 62,500, given the broadening of migration policy decided by Joe Biden.

Another notable indication is the increase in the number of Muslim places of worship in the United States over the past 20 years. A study conducted in 2000 by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership identified 1,209 mosques on American soil.

Their follow-up study in 2011 revealed that the number had climbed to 2,106. In 2020, there were 2,769 mosques, more than double the number in 2000.

Along with the growth of their population, Muslims have gained greater visibility in the political sphere. Thus, in 2007, the 110th Congress welcomed the first Muslim representative, a figure that went to three in 2021.

In a series of surveys conducted in 2014, 2017, and 2019, the Pew Research Center asked Americans to rate religious groups on a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 representing the most negative perception possible.

It appears that Muslims systematically occupy the bottom of the table with a score of 49.

Finally, a few months after the 2001 attacks, the Pew Research Center polled public opinion on whether Islam was more likely than other religions to encourage violence: only 25% of Americans responded in the affirmative. A figure that has risen to 50% when the same question was asked in 2021.

Islam in the United States is therefore still widely viewed in a negative light. However, the growing weight of the Muslim population makes it an electorate that has become significant and is courted by both poltiical parties, in particular by the Democrats.