The Muslim population in the United States have grown in the last two decades but still many of the Americans know a little about Islam or Muslims, and the views toward Muslims have become increasingly polarized along political lines.
The PEW Research Centre that came up with this analysis, pointed out that there were about 2.35 million Muslim adults and children living in the US in 2007 – accounting for 0.8% of the U.S. population. In 2015, the Pew centre said that it had projected that Muslims could number 3.85 million by 2020 – roughly 1.1% of the total population.
In the analysis, the PEW Centre says that Mosques increased over the last 20 years in the US. A study conducted in 2000 by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership identified 1,209 mosques in the U.S. that year. Their follow-up study in 2011 found that the number of mosques had grown to 2,106, and the 2020 version found 2,769 mosques – more than double the number from two decades earlier, the PEW centre said.
With the numbers increasing, the Muslims also reported more discrimination. In 2017, during the first few months of the Trump administration, about half of Muslim American adults said they had personally experienced some form of discrimination because of their religion in the previous year. This included a range of experiences, from people acting suspicious of them to being physically threatened or attacked. In 2011, by comparison, 43% of Muslim adults said they had at least one of these experiences, and 40% said this in 2007.
Over the last 20 years, the Pew centre sys that the US Population was divided on whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. When the Pew Center first asked this question on a telephone survey in 2002, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were only moderately more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say that Islam encourages violence more than other religions. Within a few years, Republicans began to grow more likely to believe that Islam encouraged violence. Democrats, in contrast, have become more likely to say Islam does not encourage violence.
Though several of the Americans have negative views toward Muslims and Islam, 53 per cent say they do not personally know anyone who is Muslim. Similarly, 52 per cent say they know “not much” or “nothing at all” about Islam. Americans who are not Muslims and who personally know someone who is Muslim are more likely to have a positive view of Muslims, and they are less likely to believe that Islam encourages violence more than other religions, the PEW Centre said.