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3% of US Muslims are Iranian-born.

Only 3 percent of all American Muslims are Iranian-born, according to a new Pew poll of American Muslims.

The total Muslim-American community now has many native-born members, but it is still overwhelmingly dominated by immigrants due to the huge surge in Muslim immigrants of the last two decades.

And because of that recent surge, Iranian-Americans are mostly old-timers. Only 12 percent of all Muslim immigrants arrived before the 1979 revolution in Iran. Sixteen percent arrived in the decade of the 1980s when most of the Iranian immigrants came to the United States. But 71 percent have arrived since 1990.

The largest block by far is the 26 percent of the community that was born in the Arab world. A total of 13 percent are what is commonly called Black Muslims.

Despite the predominance of the Arab component, no single Arab country dominates. Asked their country of birth, the United States is first with 37 percent followed by Pakistan with 9 percent. After that, the numbers are all low, with 3 percent each saying they were born in Iran, Bangladesh, Palestine, Yemen, Jordan and Iraq. The poll found American Muslims coming from 77 different countries.

Racially, the community is far more diverse than America as a whole with 30 percent of American Muslims saying they are white, 23 percent black, 21 percent Asian, 5 percent Hispanic and 19 percent other or mixed. That makes the Muslim-American community much more black, Asian and mixed than America as a whole and much less white and Hispanic.

Asked their sect, 65 percent identified themselves as Sunni and 11 percent as Shia with another 15 percent volunteering that they were just Muslim and 10 percent saying they were something other than Sunni or Shia.

The Shia questioned in the survey came across as dramatically less religious than others. A total of 46 percent of the Shias said they seldom or never attended religious services. That compared with 13 percent of the Sunnis, 19 percent of the nonspecific Muslims and 16 percent of American Christians.

Another question in the survey asked if many religions could lead to eternal life or only one's own religion. Some 41 percent of Sunnis said only their own religion led to eternal life, as did 30 percent of non-specific Muslims, 30 percent of Christians, but just 21 percent of Shias.
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Title Annotation:Faith: Religion and the world
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Sep 16, 2011
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