For Immediate Release
Contact: Cole Krawitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415.733.8509
First Benchmark Study on Bay Area Muslim Community, One of Nation’s Largest, Finds Broad Diversity, Economic Gaps, Institutional Need
(SAN FRANCISCO) — Wednesday, May 15, 2013 — A new study, the first of its kind to provide a broad assessment of the Bay Area Muslim community, finds that Muslims across all walks of life continue to face entrenched Islamophobia more than 11 years after 9/11.
The Bay Area is home to one of the largest, most diverse Muslim populations in the U.S., with nearly 250,000 Muslims living in the six counties surrounding San Francisco.
While the study shows that the regional Muslim community is very diverse, socioeconomically and culturally, one challenge shared by virtually all of its members is a “heightened sense of Islamophobia,” says one of the principal researchers.
“More than a decade after 9/11, we see that Muslims of all ethnicities and backgrounds are still dealing with a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of bias,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, a professor at UC Berkeley and one of the study’s principal researchers. “Unfortunately, the tragic events in Boston won’t help the problem.”
The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Community and Identity finds that across the region, Muslims struggle with widespread discrimination, negative portrayals in the media, and a sense of being “double minorities” due to their ethnic and religious backgrounds — despite the fact that many Muslim immigrants settled in the Bay Area because of its reputation for cultural tolerance.
The study, the first to provide a broad look at a community that has experienced “meteoric growth,” finds that Muslims make up some 3.5 percent of the region’s total population.
The study’s key findings also include:
- The Muslim community is incredibly diverse, ranging from new immigrants from various world conflicts, to highly educated and well established professionals, to native-born Muslims and recent converts, among many others.
- As a whole, the Muslim community suffers from a significant socio-economic gap, with median household income below the Bay Area average.
- Huge disparities exist within the community as well. While a highly educated, highly paid segment of the community exists — largely in Silicon Valley — a disproportionate number of Muslims live below the poverty line, particularly in San Francisco and Alameda County.
- South Asian Muslims have the highest incomes in the community, with nearly half having household income above $100,000.
- Among immigrant Muslims, 67 percent speak at least three languages.
- The institutional support — the mosques, nonprofit organizations and government agencies required to serve any community — is still underdeveloped.
- Charitable giving is a core value among a vast majority of Bay Area Muslims, with almost two thirds of those surveyed identifying as civically engaged.
- Poorer Muslims, particularly clusters of refugees living in larger cities, are particularly vulnerable.
“Refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have tremendous needs,” Dr. Bazian said. “They’re often clustered in public housing complexes or dense areas of the inner city, and the resources are just lacking. We need to invest in our communities.”
The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Community and Identity, was commissioned by the One Nation Bay Area project, comprised of four leading Bay Area philanthropic foundations. The research, conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, is a “benchmark study” – the first of its kind to look at the Bay Area’s Muslim Community. This research report was authored by UC Berkeley Professor, Hatem Bazian, Ph.D. and ISPU’s Director of Research, Farid Senzai, Ph.D..
“The findings not only show that there is broad diversity, socioeconomic gaps, and institutional needs — they call out the resiliency and strength of a community. Our commitment to working with Muslim communities in the Bay Area is strong, and we intend to continue our long-term investment in strategies that will empower women and girls, and invest in legal services, capacity building, and promoting civic engagement to deepen cultural and religious understanding, ” said Dr. Sandra R. Hernández, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation.
The One Nation Bay Area project is a collaboration among The San Francisco Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and AAPIP (Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy).
More than 1,100 Bay Area Muslims were surveyed for the study, which looked at a) identity/religiosity; b) civic engagement; and c) challenges/needs.
Over the past two years, One Nation Bay Area has supported collaborations between American Muslims and non-Muslims working on solutions to community needs. One Nation Bay Area commissioned this report to help create informed, responsive and sustainable action by philanthropic institutions, public agencies, and the private sector.
ONE NATION BAY AREA PROJECT partners:
About The San Francisco Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $800 million over the past ten years. Through the generosity and vision of our donors, both past and present, TSFF granted $89 million in fiscal year 2012. TSFF brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in our community. By focusing on people, organizations, neighborhoods, and policy, advocacy and organizing, the Foundation addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. In response to the economic downturn, TSFF is also focusing funding on safety net partners, job creation and training, and mortgage foreclosure relief and neighborhood preservation. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties. www.sff.org
AAPIP (Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy) is a national member-supported philanthropic advocacy organization dedicated to advancing philanthropy and Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. AAPIP members include foundations, staff and trustees of grantmaking institutions, and nonprofit organizations in ten regional chapters in the United States. AAPIP engages communities and philanthropy to address unmet needs; serves as a resource for and about AAPI communities; supports and facilitates giving by and to our communities; and incubates new ideas and approaches for social justice philanthropy. AAPIP is committed to Building Democratic Philanthropy – a framework to support the development of institutions and philanthropic practices that begin with the vision of communities first, and that draws on the assets of those communities as the starting place for any blueprint to maximize their potential. www.aapip.org
About the Marin Community Foundation
The Marin Community Foundation is the primary center for philanthropy in Marin County, CA and is one of the largest community foundations in the U.S. It manages the assets of the Leonard and Beryl H. Buck Trust and over 400 funds established by individuals, families, and businesses. The Foundation makes significant improvements in communities around the world in two ways: by spearheading initiatives for long-term, sustainable change in Marin, and by distributing grants from donor-advised funds locally, across the U.S., and around the world. Now in its 25th year, the Marin Community Foundation has assets of approximately $1 billion, with annual grant distributions of approximately $50 million. www.marincf.org
About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems. The community foundation has $2.9 billion in assets under management and more than 1,650 philanthropic funds. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. www.siliconvalleycf.org