According to a national survey released by the Pew Research Center last spring, there are 2.35 million Muslims living in America today, which is chiefly the result of a major influx of Muslim immigrants that began in the 1970s. The current American Muslim population is roughly 65% foreign born, including 24% from Arab countries and 18% from South Asia, while 35% is American born, according to the Pew survey.
The past decade has seen stark shifts in the partisan allegiances of the community, which tends to be in step with the Republicans’ social conservativism but is deeply critical of the Iraq War, the GOP’s anti-terrorism measures and broader policies in the Middle East. While nearly 80% of American Muslims voted for George Bush in 2000 — a result attributable, at least in part, to the Bush campaign’s outreach to Muslim leaders — more than two-thirds backed John Kerry in 2004. According to the Pew poll, more than 60% of Muslim Americans now say they are Democrats or “leaning” toward the Democratic Party. Of the rest, roughly one-quarter are independents or have no party preference, while slightly more than 10% say they are Republicans or lean toward the GOP.