Gene Expression

The answer to the question in the title is no doubt multifactorial. Here are a few possible reasons:

1) Fewer numbers of Muslims proportionately

2) A more diverse population of Muslims, so reducing synergy between ethnicity and religion

3) An immigration policy which has resulted in a foreign-born population with higher educational qualifications than the native population, ergo, lack of synergy between socioeconomic deprivation and religion

4) America’s more receptive attitude toward immigrants

5) America’s economic system which has a “fluid” labor market, allowing newcomers to break into higher wage sectors more easily

And so forth. But today reading a new Gallup report on American Muslims I thought of another one, which is easy to display in a chart:

i-9fdb348299b07e0079c64be9c90d329b-religionimportant.jpg

Here’s a supplemental data source. As you can see, British and French Muslims are somewhat more secular than American Muslims, but the British and French as a whole are far more secular. In this reading, the relative lack of friction between Muslims & non-Muslims in the USA has less to do with the assimilative powers of the host nation or the characteristics of the minority population, and more to do with the relatively good match in religiosity.

Comments

  1. #1 M. Möhling
    March 3, 2009

    That can’t be dismissed, yet this quote by former EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini stresses point 3.

    While 85 per cent of unskilled labour goes to the EU and only five per cent to the US, some 55 per cent of skilled labour goes to the USA and only five per cent to the EU

    Most unskilled labour to the EU comes from North Africa and the Near East, as it happens with Latin Americans and the US for reasons of geography.

  2. #2 bioIgnoramus
    March 3, 2009

    Ah – a variant of “it takes one to know one”.

  3. #3 Don
    March 3, 2009

    and what is a “match in religiosity”?

  4. #4 Tod
    March 3, 2009

    When Catholics (Irish)were bombing England they were trying to get the British Army out of Ireland. The UK Muslims are annoyed for much the same sort of reason.

    Muslims involved in violent extremism in the UK are not the most religious in their community. Surprisingly, drinking, gambling and frequenting prostitutes are not unusual among them. Highly qualified men – doctors, engineers – are also well represented.

  5. #5 Markku Jantunen
    March 3, 2009

    How well integrated are American Muslims compared to European Muslims, anyway? Any quantitative information? Why should American Muslims care about how religious other Americans are? I suspect any difference is far more likely to be accounted for by the first five factors you mentioned. Any group of immigrants is likely to integrate better to the USA than to any European country.

  6. #6 Clark
    March 3, 2009

    I think this is quite true. Despite the upheaval the last 8 years where many conservative (not in the political sense) Americans became much more distrustful of Muslims (unfortunately so) I think there’s still a lot they have in common. When you move to before 9/11 I think there was actually a fair bit of common ground and trust. Many muslim parents liked to send their kids to religious schools, for instance, since despite having a Christian character they were viewed as “safer.” (Presumably from secular influence) I know I had several friends in college who were at BYU for that reason.

    Of course it’s hard to draw from such anecdotes a general trend. And when I went to a prominent more secular school there were obviously plenty of muslims there as well.

  7. #7 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 3, 2009

    The US also has a lot of converts to Islam who are born in the US. This is especially the case among the African-American population. That may be having an impact as well.

  8. #8 Neal
    March 3, 2009

    5) America’s economic system which has a “fluid” labor market, allowing newcomers to break into higher wage sectors more easily

    The concept you are referring to is class mobility and recent studies have shown America’s class mobility to be no different from Europe’s. There is however a widely held belief that America does have great class mobility while few people believe this in Europe. One could potentially argue it’s people’s false beliefs in class mobility that allows muslims to integrate.

  9. #9 razib
    March 3, 2009

    neal, you’re right on the facts. but, i suspect that the egalitarianism you’re talking about applies to the majority white native population. anecdotally europeans, especially continental europeans, do not perceive colored people as fellow citizens in the same way that american whites do.

  10. #10 lol
    March 3, 2009

    anecdotally europeans, especially continental europeans, do not perceive colored people as fellow citizens in the same way that american whites do.

    that’s a very interesting hypothesis. any data on this?

  11. #11 bgc
    March 3, 2009

    Class mobility is irrelevant: what matters is meritocracy – i.e. whether people can do the jobs for which they are capable, qualified and wish to do.

    Even controlling just for IQ makes it hard to find any class influences on social position in modern UK – http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/daniel.nettle/britishjournalpsychology.pdf.

    If personality was also controlled for, I would expect that there would be very little in the way of systematic class barriers to mobility among the mainstream sections of any of the modernizing societies.

  12. #12 razib
    March 3, 2009

    oh, and btw, i’m not talking about generation-to-generation changes in any case. i’m talking about switching between jobs easily. i’m to understand that europe has a more segregated labor market with two-tiers because of strong unions. it seems that this would work against newcomers with fewer connections trying to break in (or, become competitive by undercutting wages).

  13. #13 razib
    March 3, 2009

    that’s a very interesting hypothesis. any data on this?

    i’ve posted survey data on immigrants and attitudes toward foreigners before. one particular european reader who presumed americans were much more racist, of course, was a bit chagrined ;-)

  14. #14 Neal
    March 3, 2009

    Class mobility is irrelevant: what matters is meritocracy – i.e. whether people can do the jobs for which they are capable, qualified and wish to do.

    Even controlling just for IQ makes it hard to find any class influences on social position in modern UK – http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/daniel.nettle/britishjournalpsychology.pdf.

    Ok (1) I don’t believe you. (2) your link is broken.

  15. #15 bioIgnoramus
    March 3, 2009

    “When Catholics (Irish)were bombing England they were trying to get the British Army out of Ireland” – but their slogan was “British out of Ireland”, which seems pretty transparently a call for ethnic cleansing of the Protestants out of Ireland.

  16. #16 Jason Malloy
    March 3, 2009

    Ok (1) I don’t believe you. (2) your link is broken.

    Neal, see here. Once genes are accounted for, your socioeconomic background has no influence on how much you make.

  17. #17 jaakkeli
    March 3, 2009

    anecdotally europeans, especially continental europeans, do not perceive colored people as fellow citizens in the same way that american whites do.

    Anecdotally, not at all so. The difference is that most Europeans don’t really view people of other ethnicities as fellow citizens (or as more than fellow citizens in a purely technical sense), regardless of colour, and Europeans don’t see ethnicity as tied to colour. This is true of even the racists.

    If you’re, say, an adopted brown who has grown up without a different ethnic identity to speak some particular dialect of Finnish, you’ll instantly be recognized as a Finn. On the other hand, you can move to America and call yourself an American even if you speak English with an accent, but if some immigrant speaks only generalized Finnish with an accent and calls himself a Finn he’ll be laughed at even if he’s a “returnee” with only Finnish ancestry.

  18. #18 Alex Besogonov
    March 3, 2009

    Another possibility:
    6) Muslims in the USA are forced to integrate.

    There are no special accommodations for Muslims in the USA (in general), and American culture is overwhelming (it’s called ‘the melting pot’ for a reason).

    Compare this with Germany or Britain, Muslims almost have their own independent states there. There’s just no pressure to integrate.

  19. #19 razib
    March 3, 2009

    re: #6, actually, i think much of that is due to 1-3. fewer muslims, more of them being mobile professionals and lack of ethnic uniformity means that muslim residential ghettos are pretty hard to come by in the USA. perhaps dearborn would count, but there aren’t many others.

    as for accommodation, i don’t think it’s true that european nations accommodate more. we’re never going to have a head-scarf ban here obviously, but america is generally flexible when it comes to religion because of its pluralism.

  20. #20 Thorfinn
    March 3, 2009

    I imagine that income/education and geographical dispersion are key here. Most American Muslims are better skilled/educated than the average American (the reverse is true in Europe), and are also relatively dispersed, rather than concentrated in ethnic ghettos. They are constitute a much smaller percentage of the population than in Europe. By contrast, see the Jewish and East Asian communities (skilled, secular, and assimilated) as well as the Minnesota Somali community–very impoverished and localized, with at least one person returning to Somalia as a terrorist.

    But I wonder about the innate capacity of any non-immigrant settler nation to incorporate immigrants given the enormous difference between how America/Australia/Canada handle immigrants and how other ethnic nation-states tend to treat immigrants. Jaakkeli’s comments suggest to me that the US is the outlier, not Europe.

  21. #21 Phil
    March 3, 2009

    American foreign born Muslims come to America by choice. Europeans Muslims are sort of inherited by remnants of empire. Even the Turks in Germany are there from long standing alliances dating to WWI. As such, Euro-Muslims tend to have a chip on their shoulder concerning old wounds. But of course this is just a small factor in the overall mix.
    The former British colonies do seem to do a better job of integrating Muslims than the Brits or other Euros. You could write a paper on the topic.

  22. #22 Neal
    March 3, 2009

    “Neal, see here. Once genes are accounted for, your socioeconomic background has no influence on how much you make.”

    That is false. Please take five seconds and glance at Table 4 in the reference you gave me.

    The study suggests that one’s economic future is strongly correlated with one’s parents, especially if they are one’s biological parents. But even if you are an adopted Korean child your economic future is still strongly correlated with your adoptive parents. Which means that even once your genes are accounted for your socioeconomic background has significant influence on how much you make. In fact, from table 4 it would appear that your socioeconomic background is a much better predictor of future wealth than your genetic background.

    It’s also worth noting that this study doesn’t even attempt to support the original dubious claim (“controlling just for IQ makes it hard to find any class influences on social position”) since it doesn’t even consider IQ.

  23. #23 razib
    March 3, 2009

    scandinavia is a controlled experiment for contentions that it’s tied to colonialism. the pakistanis and kurds & turks are having the same issues as turks. for that matter, morroccans in the netherlands have nothing to do with colonialism. OTOH, iranians in sweden are doing OK, but these tend to be refugees from the revolution and what not. i tend to view arguments about colonialism affecting immigrants the same way i view arguments about trinitarianism fostering pro-capitalist sentiment: most people are way too retarded for this sort of stuff to matter.

  24. #24 rec1man
    March 3, 2009

    *In the US, law enforcement is stringent
    even high level muslims such as Royer, the CAIR-LET islamist and Sami Al Arian have been convicted
    *US has less PC than Europe
    *The US xtians are more staunch xtians than the Europeans
    and will resist islam
    *The civilian US population is armed and will resist
    creation of no-go zones as in Eurabia

    I have census data of muslims from US census ACS survey of 2007 and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis ( muslims )lag seriously behind Indians as in UK
    Median Annual Income of $52K, $42K vs $84K

    Muslims will be radicalised to the extant that the host population is supine and dhimmi

    However IMHO, US muslims will soon exhibit the pathologies of Eurabia. The early symptoms were the anti-jewish slogans during the Gaza protest

  25. #25 razib
    March 3, 2009

    I have census data of muslims from US census ACS survey of 2007 and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis ( muslims )lag seriously behind Indians as in UK
    Median Annual Income of $52K, $42K vs $84K

    1) only abut 20% of muslims are south asian. 75% of those in the UK are (and you can discard bangladeshis, there are hardly any compared to pakistanis).

    2) comparing them to indian americans is retarded; they’re the richest group in the USA (or around the same richness as jews).* indians in the UK (sikhs & hindus) are doing well, but not nearly as well compared to the mainstream as indian americans (with the possible exception of the east african immigrants).**

    3) as i noted above, americans actually make more accommodations to muslims despite being less PC. no headscarf ban or anything like that.

    4) i’ve been blogging since 2002. i’m really jaded about predictions by people who obviously don’t know that much about the topic.

    * median american household income is ~50 K.
    ** http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=269 (i’m sure the mean isn’t too different for indians because of dispersion within the group, e.g., working class sikhs vs. gujarati businessmen)

  26. #26 Jason Malloy
    March 3, 2009

    But even if you are an adopted Korean child your economic future is still strongly correlated with your adoptive parents… even once your genes are accounted for your socioeconomic background has significant influence on how much you make

    No, that is not what it shows. See page 35, Table 3A. The correlation between parental income and adoptee income was -0.9 (see also figure 3 on page 49). That is not only not “strongly correlated,” it goes in the opposite direction predicted! Taken together with the NLSY data, the entire association between socioeconomic background and income in America is genetic.

    It’s also worth noting that this study doesn’t even attempt to support the original dubious claim (“controlling just for IQ makes it hard to find any class influences on social position”) since it doesn’t even consider IQ.

    The study doesn’t need to say a word about IQ to make that claim correct. It shows that there are no class influences on social position, period. The broken link was intended for this paper:
    ” The results show that intelligence test scores in childhood are associated with class mobil ity in adulthood uniformly across all social classes. There is no evidence that those from underprivileged backgrounds have to be disproportionately able in order to reach the professional classes. The study reveals an apparently high level of social mobility and meritocracy in contemporary Britain.”

    Childhood IQ predicts adult social class. Childhood class predicts virtually nothing, and you can show this either by looking at adopted children, which randomly distributes the human capital traits that lead to class differences, or simply by measuring those traits directly in nonadopted children.

  27. #27 DVR
    March 4, 2009

    This isn’t a new hypothesis, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. Using how the black population in the U.S. and the Mexican immigrants are doing as comparisons seems to undercut the importance of 4, 5 and your own, and to suppor 3 in particular, doesn’t it?

  28. #28 razib
    March 4, 2009

    . Using how the black population in the U.S. and the Mexican immigrants are doing as comparisons seems to undercut the importance of 4, 5 and your own, and to suppor 3 in particular, doesn’t it?

    ? connect the dots. your thought is so genius that it isn’t self-evident to me.

  29. #29 Maciano
    March 4, 2009

    “This isn’t a new hypothesis, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. Using how the black population in the U.S. and the Mexican immigrants are doing as comparisons seems to undercut the importance of 4, 5 and your own, and to suppor 3 in particular, doesn’t it?”

    Well, gosh, what kind of magic could be going on here?

    I guess, we’ll just never know.

  30. #30 Alex Besogonov
    March 4, 2009

    Razib:

    “as for accommodation, i don’t think it’s true that european nations accommodate more. we’re never going to have a head-scarf ban here obviously, but america is generally flexible when it comes to religion because of its pluralism.”

    Look at Great Britain. For example, some people there go as far as suggesting to make Sharia Law mandatory for Muslims. And there are lot more other subtle points. You can just listen to Pat Condell on YouTube :)

    Also, I’d argue that America is less tolerant about non-Christian religions than Britain or Europe. Just look at the number of atheists in Congress.

  31. #31 koan0215
    March 4, 2009

    To speak in unscientific terms (meaning I have no reason to think this way aside from it seems right), I think that the reason Muslims are integrated in the US and not radicalized is almost entirely due to #4. There is plenty of racism in the US, and immigrants don’t have it easy, but I can’t think of any immigrant group that hasn’t assimilated into American culture. For example, there is plenty of media rhetoric about anti-latino sentiment in the US, but I don’t see very many actual effects of that rhetoric here in southern California. Latinos, even recent immigrants, are part of the cultural fabric here. They change to accomodate US culture, which also changes to accomodate them. I suspect the same is true for Muslims. Perhaps European culture is slow to change and less accepting of outside influence.

  32. #32 rec1man
    March 4, 2009

    *US cops are armed and will shoot to kill any rioters
    This dissuades any dreams of Eurabia
    where muslim immigrants assault cops
    as in Malmo and Paris and London

  33. #33 Dutch black Guy
    March 6, 2009

    Perhaps European culture is slow to change and less accepting of outside influence.

    Yeah we have a problem with shitria laws, sure,

    USA muslims are a minority 3 million amongst 300 million people. In Europe it is 80 million amongst the 220 million Western Europeans. I really do not have to tell you that cartoonist get arrested in Holland and Denmark for critising Islam? We already have a WORKING shit-ria court in England. Politicians are calling for girls not to dress “to sexy” for fear to incite rape (which is almost soly commited by muslims against indigineous girls, not their own girls).

    The headscalf thing is totally different, what you people do not know is that the goverment mandates employers not to discriminate against clothing of job applicants. Can a employer refuse a shador wearer in the US if it is a sales job? unthinkable here. So the goverment creates a problem and then attempts to solves it. Has nothing to do with being “racist”.

    More over , European countries are SOCIALISTic, it is Obamas whalhalla, everybody gets free healthcare, free housing, free education , free college. So why apply yourself? Just do not learn the language and you can claim people cant give you a job because you cannot even communicate.

    Europe is awash with poverty pimps and their ethic immigrant whoares who pimp on their ethnicity “i am poor, i am stupid, i cant help myself”. Its a two egde sword, the white europeans Feel superior just for speaking a language and the black immigrant get a welfare check and do not have to apply themselves. My god, everything is free here, even university, how come 70% of muslims youth (SEVENTY PERCENT) leaves mediocre highschool without a diploma, 40% of the Turks in germany, 90% of the prison polpulation in France is muslim. Political leaders are calling for officially segregated communities WITHIN the Netherlands. I say it is all the Europeans own fault of going to route of socialism. Even Churchill called Nazis in 1933 “the new mohammedan religion” (as islam was there first). Hitler called Christianity “weak and sick” compared to the superior religion of islam.

    The Europeans have dug their own graves, appeasing cowards!

  34. #34 justme
    March 7, 2009

    Razib, interesting post and responses here. But just to ask some more basic questions: Everyone in the US is integrated. Culturally. The culture is that strong and simultaneously so co-opting. Also, class wise, at least in their (culturally-influenced) self-conception. So being American is an intrinsically integrating experience, psychologically. By this logic, everyone, including Muslims are integrated in the US, almost by definition. Except, that is, when race comes up. And in the US, many, many, many people think ‘black’ = ‘Muslim’, and even, Muslim = black. By this logic, Muslims in the US are not integrated at all, to the same extent that blacks are not. But what is integration anyway? ‘Assimilation’ versus ‘some form of multiculturalism’ is a valid issue only when there is a strong ‘majoritarian’ culture. Otherwise, a continent-sized zone can only be multicultural, by default. Canada, for example, was multicultural long before the Charter recognized it formally. Similarly Europe. Both lacked the strong homogenizing and simultaneously absorptive culture the US has. And today, Europe is moving toward recognizing that Islam is a European religion too, which, given the history of Spain, France, Italy is quite obviously true. Under such conditions, does it even make sense to ask the ‘Integration’ question? To the extent that Muslims might then not be integrated, the answer lies more in majority psychology and self-conception than anything real on the ground traceable to the Muslim community. Similarly, to the extent that Muslims in the US are not integrated, could it be traceable mainly to the biggest extant schism in the US – that of race, and the fact that, to many Americans, race and religion proxy for each other in this case?

  35. #35 razib
    March 7, 2009

    france has a long integrative history. canada too.

    Similarly, to the extent that Muslims in the US are not integrated, could it be traceable mainly to the biggest extant schism in the US – that of race, and the fact that, to many Americans, race and religion proxy for each other in this case?

    around 1/3 of muslims are as white as arab christians. only around 1/3 are black. i think we’re long past the stage of viewing black muslims as muslims.

  36. #36 rec1man
    March 7, 2009

    Perhaps American muslims are doing Taqiyah and pretending to assimilate, since the kafir host in USA are far stronger than the kafir host in Eurabia

    Taqiyah being a temperory mask, can and will be dropped when the power equation changes

    It will be instructive to ask the kafirs in Dearbornistan
    on how far the immigrant muslims are assimilated

    Steve Emerson shows clearly that the so called assimilation is simply a mask

    I also question whether American muslims are that well integrated. There are plenty of islamic honor killings in the US, including the recent wife beheading by a Radio host

  37. #37 Khalid
    March 7, 2009

    You missed one important point that justme raised but got it a bit twisted.
    America has a large population of homegrown, native Muslims(mainly black americans) who ARE integrated in American life in the sense that their unique Afro-American culture is apart of the larger American culture and had already created a space for Islam well before the mass immigration of Arabs and South Asians.( The latter of whom were able to enter and maneuver within these spaces)
    The black element, unfortunately almost always ignored in these discussions.
    In a nation whose values are founded on the concept of the individual free to pursue his/her happiness, the notion of integration is sort of nonsense, because one is free to adopt whatever way of life one so pleases(granted they don’t break the law)
    Of course, integration becomes hard when the act of breaking the law is perceived by others as an instantiation of some cultural trait rather then some personal pathology.
    Minorities are often pegged with the former while whites get the benefit of the doubt of being autonomous individuals free of culture. “Stuff white people like” put that latter notion in doubt.

    @Razib
    So black muslims aren’t Muslims? Since when did the color of your skin put you out the fold of Islam? However you feel about Black Muslims, they introduced Islam to America beginning with slavery and continuing into today.

  38. #38 razib
    March 7, 2009

    khalid, typo. i meant, around 1/3 of muslims are as white as arab christians. only around 1/3 are black. i think we’re long past the stage of viewing muslims as blacks.