Anti-Muslim myths shattered in US study
Muslim American women are second only to Jewish Americans in terms of educational attainment.http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/culture/?id=30729
Muslim American women are educated, active in the workforce and on an equal footing with men in terms of income, according to a report released Monday, which analysts said chips away at myths associated with Islam.
"What we learned in the study is that US Muslim women are roughly equal to men and to women who are non-Muslims in America in their level of education, level of income, level of religiosity and mosque attendance," Ahmed Younis, a senior analyst at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, told reporters.
"The Achilles Heel that has always existed -- that Muslims are 'not like us' because their women are oppressed -- well, the data speak to the proposition that that is absolutely not true," said Younis.
The report, based on data culled from 946 people who identified themselves as Muslims out of a sample of more than 319,000 interviewed across the United States last year, showed that Muslim American women and the religious group as a whole are second only to Jewish Americans in terms of educational attainment.
Forty percent of Muslims have a bachelor's or graduate degree, compared with 61 percent of Jews and 29 percent of the US population as a whole.
US Muslim women stand out, both compared to their global counterparts and women from other religious groups in the United States, in that they are statistically as likely as their male counterparts to have earned a university degree or higher.
Forty-two percent of Muslim women had degrees compared with 39 percent of Muslim men in the United States.
Jewish women trailed Jewish men by six percentage points in the higher-education achievement realm, and for the US population as a whole, 29 percent of women and 30 percent of men had bachelor's degrees or better.
The study also showed that Muslim American women tend to earn the same as men, both at the low and high ends of the income scale, giving the religious group the highest degree of economic gender parity.
Muslim women in the United States also frequent mosques as often as their male counterparts, "in sharp contrast to women in many majority Muslim countries who are generally less likely than men to report attending a religious service in the last week," the report said.
And more Muslim women than men in the United States -- 46 percent versus 38 percent -- said they are "thriving", or categorized themselves as being at the upper end of a scale measuring life satisfaction.
"The Muslim-American experience for a woman yields to her the opportunities and freedoms that America generally yields to women," said Younis.
"There is a uniqueness of experience among Muslim-American women vis a vis Muslims globally," he added.
Indeed, Muslims in the United States as a whole fare well compared with the Muslim populations in other Western societies.
While 41 percent of American Muslims said they are "thriving", only 23 percent in France and a mere seven percent in Britain said the same, the report showed.
The authors of the report called for a "rethink" of Americans' understanding of the US Muslim community.
"Muslims are the most negatively viewed religious community among Americans," Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies said.
"Only 45 percent of Americans consider Muslims in the country as loyal and 25 percent of Americans said they wouldn't want to have Muslims as a neighbor," she said.
A huge survey of the world's Muslims released by Gallup last year showed that Muslims admire the West for its democracy, freedoms and technological prowess.
But when Americans were asked in the same study what they admired most about the Islamic world, "most replied 'Nothing'," said Mogahed.
The study was the first-ever conducted across the United States of a randomly selected sample of Muslim Americans.