There are many ways to judge demographic integration: social, cultural and economic among them. In advance of engaging in too much self flagellation over Muslims in America and before we bow to our European brothers as the example of superior social systems a few actual facts might be in order.
Pew Research had a look at the U.S., France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain to determine were Muslims stood in terms of economic integration and disparities. Pew defined three economic classifications representing lower, middle and upper middle class earners. Taking the three classifications they determined the relative differences between the populations in general and the Muslim population.
In Great Britain the percentage of the general public falling into the lowest economic status was 39%, Muslims in that category, 61%. In France 27% of the general public, 45% of the Muslim population, In Spain 50% versus 73%; Germany 35% versus 53%. In all cases the differential ran between 18% and 23%! Complimentary variances in favor of the general European population exist at the upper middle class wage category.
In the aggregate, 38% of the general European public falls into the lowest classification while 58% of European Muslim populations are shown there. There are, of course, many discussion points related to why that is the case; lack of assimilation, social welfare systems, closed communities and, no doubt, many more. However, facts are facts.
The United States, on the other hand, maintains no more than a 2% plus or minus differential for Muslims versus the general U.S. population. In fact in the lower classification Muslims do better than the general U.S. population. In the middle class category Muslims do exactly the same as the general population, in the upper middle class the differential is only -2%. 25% of American Muslims are self employed or own their own business.
The point is that far too many American columnists and political commentators easily and comfortably apply the labels of bigot and Islamophobia. You don’t even have to read the articles, its right in the title heading. It remains unclear what the frame of reference is outside of fact challenged, righteous indignation over the N.Y.C. Mosque controversy. These selfsame pundits blithely apply Constitutional principals; but only when it fits the ideological position in the moment.
The facts are that Muslims do well in America. The facts are that they are not an oppressed minority. The facts argue against generalized bigotry and Islamophobia. Unlike our pundits who apply sloppy generalizations in the absence of factual considerations. Were those two charges true economic integration in the U.S. would mirror the numbers in Europe.
Is there Islamophobia and bigotry here and there? Sure; there is some of anything and everything in America. Is there opportunity for Muslims in America? Yes again, essentially Muslims in the economic categories surveyed are essentially equivalent to the general population.
No other “advanced democracy” to use the Pew Research designation comes close to providing the opportunity that America does. It is also true that no other “advanced democracy” demands the points of responsibility we do, but that is their problem.
We might just want to put the horse hair shirt aside for a while and put the whip back in the closet.