There may be enduring enmity between Jews and Muslims in many parts of the world, but not, it seems, in America. The results of a new study by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center examining the political, social and spiritual engagement of Muslim Americans found that those Muslims are generally happy, thriving and defiantly peaceful. That’s not surprising; other surveys of this tiny but important sliver of the American population have emphasized its solidly middle class predilections and its fierce disavowal of terrorism.
What may be surprising is the Gallup poll’s finding that in many respects, Muslim Americans most resemble… Jews. Sixty percent of Muslims say they are thriving here; ditto, American Jews. Almost all (93%) of the Muslims in Gallup’s survey believe that other Muslims are loyal to America; Jews (80%) are the religious group most likely to agree with that statement. Jews are also among the least likely religious groups to think that Muslim Americans sympathize with al Qaeda, and both groups consider the war with Iraq a big mistake.
There’s more. Muslim Americans are the most likely of any major religious group (80%) to approve of President Obama’s job performance. And who is next on that list? Yep, the Jews.
And then there is the most hopeful finding: A substantial majority of Muslim Americans (81%) and Jewish Americans (78%) support an independent Palestinian state coexisting alongside Israel. This revelation should bolster the Obama administration’s inconsistent efforts to forge a peace agreement in the Middle East, and it should prove to Israeli and Palestinian leaders that their share of the American public can already imagine a peaceful future. In fact, they are living it right now.