Nearly three in four Muslim Americans believe President Donald Trump is “unfriendly toward Muslims,” according to a new Pew Research survey released Wednesday.
The survey captured a significant drop in Muslim Americans’ satisfaction with the nation’s direction over the last few years and two presidencies. In 2011 under former President Barack Obama, only 38 percent of Muslims said were dissatisfied with the country’s direction compared to 64 percent under Trump.
Additionally, 68 percent said Trump caused them feel generally worried, with another 45 percent reporting that he makes them feel angry. Only 26 percent said the president made them feel hopeful, with 17 percent saying he made them happy.
In the third iteration of the survey, Pew evaluated responses from 1,001 Muslim adults living the in U.S., the vast majority of whom are citizens (82 percent) and represent 75 countries.
Despite concern over the president’s policies, Muslim Americans are overwhelmingly proud of their nationality and are optimistic about their lives. According to Pew, 92 percent are “proud to be an American,” while 70 percent believe they can grab hold of the American dream and “get ahead with hard work.” Muslim women were more concerned with their place in American society than men.
Sentiments are more tepid, however, in terms of how supported and accepted Muslims feel in American society. Only 49 percent said someone has “expressed support” because of their Muslim identity. Just 55 percent feel Americans are “generally friendly” toward Muslims.
Pew’s survey also confirmed the findings of other studies which show Muslims are just as concerned with Islamic extremism as Americans overall. Regarding extremism worldwide, 82 percent of Muslims are at least somewhat concerned, compared to 83 percent of the general public. That number drops 11 and 12 points respectively for concerns of U.S.-based extremism.
Muslims in the U.S. have increasingly experienced acts and threats of violence since September 11. But incidents picked up following the Paris attacks in 2015 and continued after the 2016 presidential election. According to a Pew survey last year, assaults on Muslims reached post-9/11 levels leading up to the election.
Governments worldwide have also adopted more expansive policies which target Muslim communities and countries. The Trump administration has defended its travel ban on immigrants entering the country from several predominantly Muslim nations, and increased airport security as a matter of national security. Japan and China have approved surveillance of their Muslim populations. European countries, such as France, have also passed surveillance laws following terrorist attacks that expand police abilities to search, arrest, and seize the property of Muslims. Following the London Bridge attack earlier this year, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would target Muslim communities and online “safe spaces” that breed extremism.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious population in the world. They are woven into the fabric of nearly every nation. In a recent survey, Pew found that one in ten Europeans will be Muslim by 2020. But with that rise, there will likely come increased discrimination.
In Wednesday’s survey, Pew found that nearly half (48 percent) of American Muslims reported experiencing some form of religious discrimination in the past year, including being treated as suspicious, singled out by law enforcement or airport security, called offensive names, or physically threatened or attacked.
But the vast majority of Muslims in America emphasize two things: they are proud to be Muslim, and to be an American.