Politics

Byron York: Trump and Muslims, by the numbers

Among the many criticisms of Donald Trump's ban-Muslim-immigration proposal is that it is based on bogus data. In his statement announcing the proposal, Trump cited a survey from Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy showing that "25 percent of [Muslims] polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad" and also that 51 percent "agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to sharia."

Critics attacked the Gaffney poll as unreliable. "Donald Trump's call to ban Muslim immigrants is based on a very shoddy poll," read a recent Washington Post headline, reflecting a widely-held view.

So throw out the Gaffney poll. Is there some other data, from sources with agreed-upon credibility, to shed light on Trump's point, or whether he has a point at all? On Monday, the Pew Research Center, which has conducted surveys on Muslims in the United States and around the world over the last several years, repackaged some of its findings to help people understand the issue.

A few basic points. According to Pew, Muslims make up 0.9 percent of the U.S. population — about 2.75 million people. That share is expected to increase to 2.1 percent by 2050. At the moment, 63 percent of Muslims in the United States are immigrants.

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