A majority of US Muslims are content with the nation's direction in contrast to many Americans and few Muslims who believe there is support for Islamic extremism, a survey released on Tuesday found.
With the 10th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and the Pentagon approaching, the Pew Research Center found that most Muslims felt ordinary Americans were friendly or neutral toward them.
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In contrast to the majority of the general public dissatisfied with the nation's direction, 56 percent of the estimated 2.75 million American Muslims said they are satisfied, the survey showed. Seven out of 10 view President Barack Obama's tenure favorably.
"On a variety of measures, Muslims in America are very content with their own lives and with the communities where they live," Pew researcher Greg Smith said in an interview.
Four out of five Muslim Americans surveyed were satisfied with the way things are going in their lives and rated their communities very positively as places to live.
"We've seen Muslims move in a different direction than the rest of the country (with more) believing America is going in the right direction," Smith said.
Only 6% of Muslims in the survey of slightly more than 1,000 surveyed by telephone between April and July said they there is a great deal of support for Islamic extremism in Muslim-American communities. Another 15% said there is a fair amount of support among US Muslims of extremism.
Among the general public, four in 10 believe extremism is supported in the Muslim American community, researchers said.
Pew last surveyed American Muslims in 2007, and researchers compared their attitudes in light of various disputes over mosque building, attacks on Muslims and mosques, a heating up of the US-led war in Afghanistan and hearings in the US Congress about the threat of home-grown Muslim terrorism.
Since 2007, there has been little change in how Muslim Americans see how they are viewed by the rest of America, with 28% saying other Americans viewed them suspiciously and 22% saying they had been called offensive names. Only 6% said they had been threatened or attacked, while 38% were bothered by their sense that they were singled out for increased government surveillance.
In response to questions about being a Muslim in the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks, 55% said it is more difficult while 37% saw no change.
Two-thirds of those surveyed said the quality of life for Muslims in the United States is better than in most Muslim countries.
In 2007 only one-quarter of Muslim Americans believed the US-led war on terrorism was sincere, while 43% surveyed this year believed the effort was sincere.
The survey found nearly seven in 10 Muslim Americans said the Muslim community is cooperating to the extent it should with US law enforcement - an issue raised in congressional hearings. However, only one-third said US Muslim leaders had spoken out sufficiently against extremism.
Muslim American attitudes toward terror attacks and al-Qaeda had not changed much in four years, with 81% saying suicide bombings and other violence against civilians to defend Islam were never justified, with 1% saying it was often justified.
Only 5% had a somewhat or very favorable view of al-Qaeda, with a growing majority of 70% holding very unfavorable views of the group.
The general level of satisfaction among American Muslims was reflected in the 76% who approved of Obama's performance as president - nine out of 10 said they voted for the Democrat in 2008. Muslim support for Obama contrasts with unfavorable views of his Republican predecessor, George Bush.
There are an estimated 1.8 million Muslim adults in the United States, including US-born converts, a 300,000 increase since 2007. Two-thirds were born in other countries.
The survey had an error margin of 5 percentage points.