Muslims in North America have relatively recently settled in sizable numbers to form minority communities. Estimates of Muslims range from 3 to-7 million in the US, depending on the method of counting. Canada has more than a million Muslims. Being a minority in liberal, secular and democratic societies is a new experience for Muslims.
Besides being a minority, the global war on terrorism has stigmatised Muslims, fanning anti-Islam sentiments. These sentiments find expression in the surveillance of mosques and Islamic associations, Muslims being hassled on borders and increasingly denied entry into the US by the Trump administration. Mosques are occasionally targets of vandalism and murder. Internet trolls about Muslims’ conspiracies and the so-called threat that Islam poses roll through the social media. This is how Islamophobia bites a majority of Muslims.
Yet there is the other side of Muslims’ life in North America. Muslims express satisfaction with their life in America. The Pew Research Centre survey of Muslims in 2018 found that about 90% of Muslims in the US expressed pride in being Americans. Similarly, about 80% were satisfied with their lives.
Muslims generally do not encounter overt hostility in daily routines. They are found in all professions and places. There is even sympathy for them among liberal and progressive segments of society, upholding their rights as equal citizens. This paradox of satisfaction and anxiety defines their everyday life. The question is what can be done to neutralize anti-Muslim sentiment?