CAIRO - A new study on San Francisco Bay Area Muslims have found a tremendously diverse community that is civically engaged, well educated, and makes charitable and volunteer contributions at a rate much higher than the national average.
Nearly 250,000 Muslims-one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the country-live, study, volunteer, work and contribute to the economies and communities of the Bay Area, the study released by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), says.
This benchmark study provides historical, religious, and cultural context for a community that is often misunderstood and misrepresented - in our schools and communities.
The study; The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Identity and Community, was released by authors Farid Senzai, assistant professor of political science at Santa Clara university, and Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer in the department of Near eastern and ethnic studies at university of California, Berkeley.
Surveying more than 1,100 Bay Area Muslims, the study provides valuable data on the San Francisco Bay Area Muslim community's demographics, sense of identity, economic well being, political and civic engagement, and challenges.
We estimate the Bay Area Muslim population to be approximately 250,000. The community, therefore, constitutes 3.5 percent of the area's total population and is one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the country, the study says.
This benchmark study â¦ serves many purposes including providing groundbreaking data on its demographics, sense of identity, economic well being, political and civic engagement, and the challenges that it faces.
For the first time, this report gathers quantitative and qualitative research about the needs of the Bay Area Muslim community and suggests recommendations for philanthropy, public agencies, and the private sector, it added.
According to the study, the Muslim population in Bay Area is highly educated.
The survey indicated that 74 percent of respondents have completed at least some college or more. Nearly 25 percent have completed graduate school, and 5 percent have earned a Ph.D.
Though having a Median household income of $70,686, lower than the average for the general Bay Area region ($77,879), the vast majority of Muslims believe in giving to charity, including the obligatory annual alms (zakat).
The study found that Bay Area Muslims are civically and politically engaged who volunteer at a rate much higher than the national average.
When asked if they had volunteered recently, 62 percent said they had volunteered in the past year by donating time to local charities and nonprofit organizations, being involved in their local mosque, or in similar activities, the study says.
Some were involved in more indirect ways, such as helping extended family members, providing meals for a sick relative or sending money back to their country of origin.
Many of them, regardless of their type of civic engagement, can be seen as promoting the quality of life in their communities (Muslim and non-Muslim) and felt part of the larger social fabric while personalizing community-wide problems, it added.
Muslims were also increasingly participating in politics, as participants agreed that American Muslims must be actively involved and politically engaged.
Muslims in the study increasingly vote and are engaged in addressing local and national social problems, as well as protesting US domestic and foreign policies since 9/11, the study revealed.
The United States is home to a Muslim minority of between six to eight million.
A survey, titled The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, was published earlier this month by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The survey also finds that American Muslims are the most moderate around the world.
It shows that US Muslims generally express strong commitment to their faith and tend not to see an inherent conflict between being devout and living in a modern society.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net