Throughout his 2016 bid for the Presidency, Donald Trump has been critical and suspicious of Muslim immigrants. A ban on all Muslim immigration to the US has a cornerstone of Trump’s platform, and has ratcheted up in the wake of the Orlando shooting. Trump has used the idea that Muslims are unable or unwilling to assimilate once in the US to bolster support for his anti-immigrant policies.
Wednesday on Fox News’ Sean Hannity Show, the host asked Trump about this question. “Assimilation has been very hard [for Muslims],” Trump responded. “It’s almost — I won’t say nonexistent, but it gets to be pretty close. And I’m talking about second and third generation. They come — they don’t — for some reason, there’s no real assimilation.”
Politifact decided to find out, and discovered that Trump’s assertion that Muslim immigrants did not assimilate is false.
A survey in 2011 by the esteemed Pew Foundation was conducted among 1033 Muslims in America. 56% of those survey said they thought “most Muslims coming to the United States today want to adopt American customs and ways of life.” 20% responded that “most Muslims coming to the U.S. want to be distinct from the larger American society,” and 16 percent said “Muslim immigrants want to do both.” The attitudes by the American public at large differ greatly from those of the Muslims surveyed, with just 33% of Americans believing that most Muslims want to assimilate.
The same survey noticed some interesting similarities between Muslim and Christian Americans in their thoughts on God and country. Half of Muslims regarded themselves as Muslim first and American second. The number for Christians was surprisingly similar, with 46% saying they were Christian first and American second.
An NYU study found that younger Muslims seemed to be happy with the designation as a Muslim-American, with 84% of 12-18 year olds were comfortable with a “hyphenated identity.”
While Muslims seem to find it valuable to maintain elements of their culture, to say that there is “no real assimilation” is contrary to the data found by Politifact. Donald Trump finds it politically expedient to create an “other,” whether or not this has any basis in reality.