This is a follow-up to my post yesterday about Muslim American assimilation that focuses on religious differences between Muslims in the United States, between them and their co-religionists in their countries of origin, and their differences with other Americans.
There are many different sects of Islam and most are represented in the United States. Sunni Islam is the largest followed by Shia Islam at roughly 89 percent and 11 percent, respectively, which is similar to the global division. African American membership in the Nation of Islam adds another wrinkle. There are further sub-sects such as the Sufi, Druze, Ahmadiyya, Alevism, and others that disagree on virtually everything from doctrine to modes of practice. In addition to those differences, there are five main schools of Islamic jurisprudence (four Sunni and one Shia) that reveal further differences to say nothing of how local cultures have altered practice and doctrine. Islam is not a monolithic and uniform religion. It is highly fractured and lacks a central religious authority.
Based on a 100 point index pooling the responses from religious questions in the World Values Survey, Muslim immigrants in the West had a religiosity of 76 compared to 83 in their countries of origin and 60 in their destination societies. According to Gallup, 80 percent of Muslim Americans say that religion plays a key role in life, which is more than the 65 percent of the general population but still less than the 85 percent reported by Mormons who agree with that statement. Those figures are slightly lower for younger Muslim and non-Muslim respondents aged 18 to 29. Pew also found that religion is about as important to U.S. Muslims as it is to Christians while both valued it more than the general population.
Gallup and Pew found that compared to Muslims in Islamic countries, U.S. Muslims are the least likely to say religion is important to them. Gallup found that Muslim weekly attendance at religious services in the United States is only just above that of the general population, 41 percent to 34 percent, and is 22 percentage points below Mormon attendance. Among Muslims who said that “religion is important,” only 49 percent attend religious services once a week – lower than the U.S. general population and all other religious groups except Judaism. For respondents aged 18 to 29, 41 percent of Muslims attend mosque at least once a week, the same percentage as Protestants, 27 points behind Mormons, and 14 points ahead of the general population. Pew found that weekly attendance for Muslims and Christians was about the same and both were higher than the general population.