ASMA GHANI WASHINGTON Though, many American Muslims say it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the US since the September 11, 2001 attacks, some 82 per cent say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their life. About 66 per cent say that the quality of life for Muslims in the United States is better than in most Muslim countries. In fact, American Muslims are far more satisfied with the way things are going in the country (56 per cent) than is the general public (23 per cent). Four years ago, Muslim Americans and the public rendered fairly similar judgments about the state of the nation (38 per cent of Muslims compared to 32 per cent of the general public). The findings of a survey were shared with a select group of mediapersons who recently visited Washington, DC, and New York as part of a week-long programme the Many Faces of Islam in America, organized by the Foreign Press Centre, US State Department. The nationwide survey of 1,033 Muslim Americans was conducted by the Pew Research Centre between April 14 and July 22, 2011 on the eve of 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. According to the survey, 15 per cent Muslims in the US were dissatisfied with the way things are going in their lives. About 79 per cent Muslim Americans rated their community very positively as a place to live and 20 per cent rated fair or poor. One per cent refused to reply or did not know. Most Muslim Americans continue to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party and support President Obama. Seventy-six per cent approved of Obamas job performance; in 2007, about 69 per cent disapproved of George Bushs job performance. Nearly half of Muslim Americans (48 per cent) say they feel that the Republican Party is unfriendly toward Muslims American; just 15 per cent say the party is friendly toward them. By contrast, 46 per cent say the Democratic Party is friendly toward Muslim Americans, and 64 per cent feel that way about Barack Obama. Among Muslim American who say they voted in 2008, an overwhelming 92 per cent say they voted for Obama. In comparison, the 2007 survey found that 71 per cent reported voting for Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 election. US Muslims are about as likely as other Americans to report household incomes of $ 100,000 or more (14 per cent of Muslims, compared with 16 per cent of all adults), and they express similar levels of satisfaction with their personal financial situation. Overall, 46 per cent say they are in excellent or good shape financially; among the general public, 38 per cent say this. Muslim Americans are as likely as the public overall to have graduated from college (26 per cent of Muslims vs. 28 per cent among the general public). Because as a group Muslim Americans are younger than the general public, twice as many report being currently enrolled in a college or university class (26 per cent vs. 13 per cent). Similar numbers of Muslim Americans and members of the general public report being self-employed or owning a small business (20 per cent for Muslim Americans, 17 per cent for the general public). And on a key foreign policy issue, Muslim Americans are far more likely than Muslims in the Middle East to say that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights of the Palestinians are addressed (62 per cent say this; 20 per cent disagree). In this regard, the views of Muslim Americans resemble those of the general public, among whom 67 per cent say a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist while protecting the rights of the Palestinians; 12 per cent disagree. As many as 55 per cent said that since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the US and 37 per cent said it has not changed very much and only two per cent said it has become easier. Most think the American people are generally friendly or neutral towards Muslim Americans. Significant numbers report being looked at with suspicion (28 per cent), and being called offensive names (22 per cent). And while 21 per cent report being singled out by airport security, 13 per cent say they have been singled out by other law enforcement. Overall, a 52 per cent majority says that government anti-terrorism policies single out Muslims in the US for increased surveillance and monitoring. However, reports about such experiences and feelings of being subjected to intense scrutiny have not changed substantially since 2007. A quarter of Muslim Americans (25 per cent) report that mosques or Islamic centres in their communities have been the target of controversy or outright hostility. While 14 per cent report that there has been opposition to the building of a mosque or Islamic centre in their community in the past few years, 15 per cent say that a mosque or Islamic centre in their community has been the target of vandalism or other hostile acts in the past 12 months. Ten years after 9/11, US Muslims continue to reject extremism by large margins. Still, 21 per cent of Muslim Americans say there is at least a fair amount (15 per cent) of support for extremism among U.S Muslims. That is far below the proportion of the general public that sees at least a fair amount, 40 per cent, of support for extremism in the Muslim American community. Many Muslims fault their own leaders for failing to challenge Islamic extremists. Nearly half (48 per cent) say that Muslim leaders in the United States have not done enough to speak out against Islamic extremists; only about a third (34 per cent) say Muslim leaders have done enough in challenging extremists. At the same time, 68 per cent say that Muslim Americans themselves are cooperating as much as they should with law enforcement. Far more view the United States efforts to combat terrorism as sincere than did so in 2007. Currently, opinion is divided43 per cent of Muslim Americans say US efforts are a sincere attempt to reduce terrorism while 41 per cent do not. Four years ago, during George Bushs presidency, more than twice as many viewed US anti-terrorism efforts as insincere rather than sincere (55 per cent to 26 per cent). As in 2007, very few Muslim Americansjust 1 per centsaid that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are often justified to defend Islam from its enemies; an additional 7 per cent say suicide bombings are sometimes justified in these circumstances. 81 per cent say that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians are never justified. A comparably small percentage of Muslim Americans express favourable views of al Qaeda2 per cent very favourable and 3 per cent somewhat favourable. And the current poll finds more Muslim Americans holding very unfavourable views of al Qaeda than in 2007 (70 per cent vs. 58 per cent). There is much greater opposition to suicide bombingand more highly negative views of al Qaedaamong Muslims in the United States than among Muslims in most of the seven predominantly Muslim countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitude Project. In the Palestinian territories, 68 per cent of Muslims say suicide bombing and other forms of violence are at least sometimes justified, as do 35 per cent of Muslims in Lebanon and 28 per cent of those in Egypt. In the other Muslim publics surveyed, the median percentage saying that suicide bombing and other violence against civilians are never justified is 55 per cent; by contrast, 81 per cent of Muslims in the US say such violence is never justified. Similarly, the median percentage across the seven Muslim publics with very unfavourable views of al Qaeda is 38 per cent, compared with 70 per cent among Muslim Americans. Overall, just 5 per cent Muslim Americans express even somewhat favourable opinion of al Qaeda. Yet hostility towards al Qaeda varies75 per cent of foreign-born US Muslims say they have a very unfavourable opinion of al Qaeda, compared with 62 per cent of all native-born Muslims and 56 per cent of native-born African American Muslims. As many as 56 per cent of Muslim Americans say that most Muslims who come to the US today want to adopt American customs and ways of life. In contrast, only 33 per cent of the general public believes that Muslims who come to the US want to adopt American customs. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Muslim Americans endorse the idea that most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard; just 26 per cent say hard work is no guarantee of success. Among the general public, somewhat fewer (62 per cent) say that most people who work hard can get ahead. Muslim Americans are not especially liberal when it comes to the societal acceptability of homosexuality. They are split on this issue. Like US Christians, many US Muslims are highly religious. 69 per cent say that religion is very important in their lives, compared with 70 per cent of Christians and almost half of both US Muslims and Christians report attending worship services at least weekly. About 48 per cent Muslim American say they offer all five prayers daily.