Switch to Desktop Site
 
 

Radical Islam finds US to be 'sterile ground'

Next Previous

Page 3 of 6

About these ads

In Britain, by contrast, two-thirds of Muslims live in low-income households, according to British census data. Three-quarters of those households are overcrowded. British Muslims' jobless rate is 15 percent – three times higher than in the general population. For young Muslims between 16 and 24, the jobless rate is higher: 17.5 percent.

"The culture is qualitatively different [in the American Muslim community] from what we've seen from public information from Europe, and that actually says very positive things about our society," says Jonathan Winer, a terrorism expert in Washington. "We don't have large populations of immigrants with a generation sitting around semi-employed and deeply frustrated. That's a gigantic difference."

Jaber, the AmeriCorps volunteer, who is studying to become a medical doctor, says he has not experienced anti-Muslim bias. In part, he says, that may be because he doesn't have an accent or look particularly Middle Eastern – his father is Palestinian and his mother Filipino. But he also credits America's melting-pot mentality, as does Ms. Kotb, the Middle East consultant.

"We weren't isolated growing up. We were part of the culture," says Kotb, who grew up outside Washington in a family that inculcated a success ethic. "Religion was important, but not so much that you'd have to cover your head or if you don't pray five times a day, that's it – nothing like that. There were a lot more progressive attitudes" within her local Muslim community.

In mosques in America, it's fairly common for imams to preach assimilation, says Mr. Zogby. That's not as true in Europe, particularly in poorer neighborhoods where sermons can be laced with extremism.

Next Previous

Page 3 of 6

Share