June 27, 2006

Pew Research Center to Survey Muslim Americans

About the Research Initiative

The Pew Research Center (Center) is undertaking one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the demographics, attitudes and experiences of Muslim Americans.

The Center, which has expertise in public opinion research, demography and the role of religion in public life, will conduct a national public opinion survey of Muslim Americans as well as a series of focus groups and community surveys among Muslim Americans in select cities. The year-long research project will focus on experiences and attitudes toward assimilation and discrimination; it will explore religious identity, beliefs and practices; and it will examine opinions on a range of political, social, economic and international issues. The first report based on the research is expected to be released in mid 2007.

Relatively little is known about the Muslim American population, in part because the U.S. Census does not include religion among its demographic measures. In addition, because Muslim Americans comprise a relatively small percentage of the overall population, standard national public opinion surveys typically sample too few Muslims to allow for reliable analysis of their characteristics, opinions and experiences. The scale of the Center’s study and the special sampling techniques to be employed will yield a sufficiently large sample so that the results can be generalized to the broader population of Muslim Americans.

Leadership and Advisory Board

This research project is being overseen by Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, Scott Keeter, director of survey research, and Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (Forum), which is a project of the Center. Amaney Jamal, assistant professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University and a specialist in the study of Muslim public opinion, serves as senior project advisor. Pew Forum Research Associate Greg Smith serves as project manager and is the primary contact for information.

The project’s outside advisory board includes researchers with expertise in the study of Muslims in America:

  • Ihsan Bagby, University of Kentucky
  • Zahid H. Bukhari, Muslims in American Public Square Project (MAPS) and the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University
  • Louis Cristillo, Teachers College at Columbia University
  • Sally Howell, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan
  • Peter Mandaville, Center for Global Studies, George Mason University
  • Ingrid Matteson, Hartford Seminary
  • Farid Senzai, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
  • Affiliation listed for identification purposes only.

For more information, contact Greg Smith at 202.419.4300.