Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Expatica's French news in English: Muslims more integrated in US than France

Expatica's French news in English: Muslims more integrated in US than France

Muslims more integrated in US than France

CHICAGO, Nov 8 (AFP) - While Arab Americans and Muslims suffered a spike in hate crimes after the September 11 attacks, they do not face the same level of disenfranchisement as their French counterparts, experts say.

"They're discriminated against but they have jobs -- this is the major difference from Europe," Yvonne Haddad, a professor of Islamic history at Georgetown University in Washington told AFP.

Arab and Muslim immigrants in the US generally identify themselves as Americans and integrate with relative ease into a society that prides itself on social mobility and has more tolerance for cultural and religious differences, Haddad said.

"To identify as French you have to renounce your
faith and have to renounce you previous identity as though your previous self didn't exist. In the US you don't have to," she said.

Arabs are a tiny minority in the United States, making up less than one percent of the population, according to the census bureau. They also constitute only about a quarter to a third of the country's Muslims, estimated at six million to seven million people or about two percent of the population.

Arab Americans and Muslims are better educated and have a higher income than the national average, said Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

"There's no clear connection between the European and the American Muslim experience," she said, explaining that Muslims in the United States are less isolated and homogeneous than their European counterpart.

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