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Rachel Gillum: Muslim American Attitude Formation

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Published on Feb 13, 2015

How do Muslim-Americans form beliefs about the treatment they expect to receive from US law enforcement? The results of an original, nationally-representative survey of Muslim- Americans suggest three key findings. First, Muslims’ awareness of group-based injustices increases across successive generations, with the most negative attitudes towards law enforcement held by U.S.-born Arabs and Blacks. The data also provides an empirical account of the effects of sending-country institutions on immigrants’ attitudes and experiences in their new host countries. Newer immigrants from countries with corrupt institutions bring with them to the United States more negative expectations of government than those who came from non-corrupt countries. By the time immigrants have naturalized, however, their attitudes no longer reflect the institutions of their sending-country. Immigrants who have gone through the naturalization process become more cynical, regardless of their country of origin. The findings reveal that while beliefs about government institutions are sticky, they are updated overtime with new experiences.

Rachel is a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN) and the principal investigator of the Muslim-American National Opinion Survey (MANOS). She is also a fellow at the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies and am affiliated with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University. Her research interests range across American Political Behavior, Race and Ethnic Politics, Homegrown Terrorism and Survey Research Design. Her current book project focuses on the Muslim-American community and examines the determinants of a variety of political beliefs and behaviors, from integration and identification with the United States, to various forms of political mobilization, including support for violent extremism against the American government.

Brought to you by the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University.

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