U.S. Muslims Open to Multiple Interpretations of Islam: Poll

An American Muslim woman
An American Muslim woman (Photo: Reuters)

 

A majority of Muslims in the U.S. say there is more than one way to interpret Islam and believe traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

The poll also surprisingly suggests that being highly religious does not necessarily indicate acceptance of traditional notions of Islam.

In addition, the poll indicates that attendance levels of U.S. Muslims at mosques are comparable to attendance levels of Christians at church services. Also comparable are the percentages of Muslims who say religion is very important in their lives versus the percentage of Christians who say the same thing.

The percentages of U.S. Muslims and Christians who believe there is more than one way to interpret their respective religions is also similar.

Specifically, the poll, found:

  • 43% of U.S. Muslims say they attend mosque at least once a week (compared to 47% of U.S. Christians who say they attend church services at least once a week)
  • 65% of U.S. Muslims say religion is very important in their lives (68% of U.S. Christians say the same)
  • 64% of U.S. Muslims say there is room for multiple interpretations of the teachings of Islam (60% of U.S. Christians say the same thing about Christianity). Of note is that even among Muslims who say that religion is very important in their life, 59% say there is more than one way to interpret the faith.

In addition, a majority of U.S. Muslims polled (52%) say traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues (versus 38% who maintain that traditional understandings are all that is needed). Even among Muslims who say that religion is very important in their lives, 43% say traditional understandings should be reinterpreted (while 46% say not).

The results of this poll should be heartwarming to Muslim reformers who are oftentimes bullied out of the conversation by vocal and well-funded Muslim Brotherhood-linked (Islamist) front groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and their popular shills like sharia-apologist Linda Sarsour, who has become a darling of the far left and feminists.

Even more importantly, government agencies – including the State Department — which seem to have an open-door policy for Islamist groups (while closing the door to reformers), would be wise to realize that reform-minded and open Muslims would make better partners in the fight for freedom and democracy and security in the homeland.

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Meira Svirsky
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org