August 14, 2012

Beliefs and Practices of U.S. Muslims Differ from Muslims Abroad

57%

A majority of U.S. Muslims (57%) say Islam can be understood in more than one way; globally, views among Muslims trend in the opposite direction.

American Muslims, like Muslims in other countries, overwhelmingly accept certain core religious beliefs, such as the conviction that there is one God and that Muhammad is His Prophet. However, U.S. Muslims tend to be less observant than Muslims in other countries surveyed when it comes to practices such as daily prayer and mosque attendance. Moreover, American Muslims are much more inclined to say that Islam is open to multiple understandings, rather than a single, correct interpretation.

A majority of U.S. Muslims (57%) say Islam can be understood in more than one way, compared with 37% who believe there is only one correct interpretation of Islam. Globally, views among Muslims trend in the opposite direction: a median of 27% say Islam is open to more than one interpretation, while a median of 63% disagree.

A majority of American Muslims (69%) say religion is very important in their lives. However, U.S. Muslims place somewhat less emphasis on religion than Muslims in most of the countries in the current survey (a median of 87% say religion is very important to them). In addition, when it comes to practices such as prayer and mosque attendance, American Muslims are somewhat less observant than most Muslims surveyed elsewhere in the world. About two-thirds (65%) of U.S. Muslims say they pray once a day or more, while slightly less than half (47%) attend mosque at least once a week. Across the other countries surveyed, a median of 76% report praying daily, and 61% say they attend mosque one or more times a week. Read More