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Muslims 'Feel At Home' In The U.S.

Muslim students at an elementary school in Illinois (AFP) May 24, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Muslims in the United States have experienced more intolerance or suspicion in recent years, but they are also largely integrated and embracing the American dream of achieving success through hard work, a leading U.S. researcher on religious issues says.

Luis Lugo , director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, was explaining to RFE/RL the results of a poll his center published this week.

Most of those surveyed had a generally positive view of the wider society, with 71 percent of those asked agreeing that working hard can lead to success in the United States.

Muslims 'Largely Mainstream'

Nearly two-thirds said they did not see a conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society, and on balance those polled said Muslims coming to the United States should try to adopt American customs.

"Muslims feel at home in the United States," Lugo said. "They are happy with their lives, happy with their communities, they buy into American values such as hard work leading to success. [They are] very, very much in the American mainstream when it comes to educational and economic attainments, and generally quite committed to the United States."

However, the survey also noted some areas where Muslims diverged more widely from the general population.

Only 40 percent of those polled said groups of Arabs carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001.

And some 15 percent of young Muslims said suicide bombing can be often or sometimes justified in the defense of Islam.

But Lugo notes that, overall, Muslims in the United States had a much more negative view on suicide bombings than their counterparts in Europe or elsewhere.

The Pew's Luis Lugo
Lugo says that although many Muslims are relatively new to the United States, they are generally well integrated and happy with their lives. more
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