US Catholic Faith in Real Life

You say extremist; Gallup says extremely unemployed

Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

What makes an Islamic extremist tick (and sadly sometimes tock)? Most of us may have come to believe it is a lifetime of indoctrination, largely financed by "friendly" oil regimes, that builds a terrorist monster. But the results of a new Gallup poll suggest the personality of terror may be a lot more complex than a complex of hate-mongering madrassas.

According to one of the first major studies of Muslim integration since the Sept. 11 terror attacks: "Joblessness and poverty are a more potent source of tension between Muslims and wider European and U.S. society than religious differences."

Man may not live by bread alone, but it may be enough to placate a fanatic.

(FYI: this is a theme we will touch on in an interview with Boston University's Andrew Bacevich, coming in the July issue. Order your sub here! )

The AP reports:

"Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and a faith adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, said the surveys exposed as myths many ideas about the relationship between Muslims and the rest of society.

'This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration couldn't be more wide of the mark," she said. "European Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute to society.'

The study found that only 10 percent of British Muslims consider themselves integrated into British society, compared to 46 percent of French Muslims and 35 percent of German Muslims. Mogahed, an Egyptian-American Muslim, said unemployment and access to education were key factors in isolating Muslims in the West. . . .Mogahed said that Muslims, particularly in Britain and France, feel marginalized because they have more difficulty finding jobs than non-Muslims, and typically have lower incomes . . . Another key finding of the study was that that Muslims don't prioritize their faith over patriotism, Mogahed said."

According to Gallup,77 percent of British Muslims feel a strong sense of British identity, compared to 50 percent of the country's non-Muslims. In France, around half of Muslims and non-Muslims say they feel a strong sense of patriotism.