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US Muslims feel assimilated, part of society, survey finds

Muslims in the United States appear to have been largely assimilated into the broader US society, finds a new survey which also reports that nearly eight in 10 Muslim Americans overwhelmingly condemn the practice of suicide bombings.

Still, the survey released this week by the Pew Research Center found that about a quarter of young Muslim Americans feel there are times when such bombings can be justified.

Nonetheless, the picture painted of the survey – said to be the first comprehensive, national survey of Muslim Americans – finds that they are relatively happy in the United States and feel more a part of US society than Muslims who have emigrated to Europe feel about living in their countries.

The survey found that a majority of Muslim Americans believe in the "American Dream" and that hard work pays off. Seven out of 10 agree with the belief "that most people who want to get ahead in the United States can make it if they are willing to work hard", the survey found.

At the same time, a majority surveyed – 53 percent – say life for Muslim Americans has become more difficult in the United States since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Among the key findings of the survey, released on 22 May, was that slightly less than half of US Muslims, 47 percent, view themselves as primarily Muslim and then as Americans. That was in marked contrast to Muslims surveyed in Western Europe, where majorities said they were Muslim first and then citizens of their own countries.

The survey also found that, by a two-to-one margin, Muslim Americans see no conflict between living in contemporary US society and being a devout Muslim.

The survey based on a national sample conducted earlier in 2007 of 1050 Muslims living in the United States, estimates that there are now some 2.35 million Muslim Americans; other studies have placed the US Muslim population at about 6 million.

Full survey at: http://pewforum.org/surveys/muslim-american/

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