In virtually every respect, this Pew analysis finds, American Muslims closely resemble African-Americans in their attitudes about religion and politics. They’re serious about religion, "liberal," and moralistic--for the most part, a solid contributor to a Democratic coalition, at least inasmuch as the liberalism trumps the religion (as it does for African-Americans).
I have three questions. First, to what degree is the self-identified liberalism a product of a reaction against the Republican identification with intervention in the Middle East (and support for Israel)? To the degree that it is, I wonder how serious they are about it, since it seems to me that the American presence "over there" is the closest thing we have to a means of "liberalizing" the Middle East.
That leads me to my second question. While there is some evidence that in Europe, life in the West doesn’t transform (or pluralize, if you will) Muslim attitudes, some people have in the past made the case (somewhat plausibly, to my mind) that the Muslim diaspora was likeliest to be a source for the reform of Middle Eastern societies and polities. If and when any of these folks go home, will they bring "American values" back with them, or shed them. In other words, once again: is their "liberalism" simply a product of their opposition to American intervention?
Finally, I know that the sample in the Pew surveys is likely to be too small for finely-grained distinctions, but I’d love to know whether there’s any ethnic heterogeneity in the Muslim responses. Are Kurds different from Palestinians, who are different from Moroccans, who are different from Pakistanis, who are different from Indonesians, who are different from Iranians, who are different from Turks, who are different from Kurds?