Lifting the Stigma on American Muslims

Posted on April 15, 2016

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Christian Science Monitor Editorial Board

One reason Donald Trump keeps winning GOP primaries is the popularity of his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. Exit polls show nearly two-thirds of those voting in the Republican contests favor such a ban. And the idea attracts many independents and Democrats.

Just how well the United States screens Muslim immigrants may be a legitimate issue, especially after the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings. But Mr. Trump’s notion of a ban, combined with his call for closing all mosques in America to prevent radicalization, has painted a different political picture.

Perhaps not since the 2010 midterm election, with its debate over the ground zero mosque, have American Muslims been made to worry so much about being stigmatized for their faith.

Yet branding Muslims as potentially dangerous does not fit what American Muslims say about themselves, according to a new poll. A nonprofit group, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, conducted a survey earlier this year and found this counternarrative fact: Muslims with the strongest religious identity are also the most engaged in American civic life and have a stronger American identity.

Islam doesn’t weaken Muslim patriotism, it actually strengthens it,” concluded Dalia Mogahed, research director for the poll.  [Please click here to read the remainder of this article.]

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Posted in: Islam