Muslims in a Post-9/11 America

A Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs and Their Implications for U.S. National Security Policy
August 2018
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Muslims in a Post-9/11 America looks at how the public’s fears about Muslims in the United States—and the understandings of Muslims upon which U.S. counterterrorism policies are based—compare with the reality of American Muslims’ attitudes on a range of relevant issues.

While most research on Muslim Americans focuses on Arab Muslims, a quarter of the Muslim American population, this book includes perspectives of Muslims from ethnic and national communities—from African Americans to those of Pakistani, Iranian, or Eastern European descent. Using interviews and one of the largest nationwide surveys of Muslim Americans to date, Rachel Gillum examines over three generations of Muslim American immigrants to assess how segments of the Muslim American community are integrating into the U.S. social fabric, and how they respond to post-9/11 policy changes. Gillum’s findings challenge perceptions of Muslims as a homogeneous, isolated, un-American and potentially violent segment of the U.S. population.

​Despite these realities, negative political rhetoric around Muslim Americans persists, and many Muslims participating in this study have experienced discrimination. The findings suggest some of the policies designed to keep America safe from terrorist attacks may have eroded one of law enforcement’s greatest assets in the fight against domestic violent extremism—a relationship of trust and goodwill between the Muslim American community and U.S. government entities. Gillum argues for government policies and law enforcement tactics that will bring more nuanced understandings of this diverse category of Americans and build trust, rather than alienate Muslim communities.