The Silcon Valley has been the subject of a recent new study by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, outlining the demographics, population and issues relating to Bay Area Muslims. If you want to know about Bay Area Muslims, this study will likely be your starting point in any research.

This is a landmark study-- the first of its kind on American Muslims-- prepared by Santa Clara Associate Professor Dr. Farid Senzai and Zaytuna College co-founder, Dr. Hatem Bazian.

The study, entitled The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Identity and Community, was commissioned by The One Nation Bay Area Project, among other groups.  The study was released last week and was the focal point of discussion in the Bay Area Muslim community all weekend, from Dr. Bazian's remarks at the Zaytuna College Fundraiser in Santa Clara, to the discussion at the Muslim Community Association, also in Santa Clara the following night.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the Muslim population there; the Bay Area has one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the United States, with nearly 250,000. It also has one of the most diverse Muslim populations in the world.

The San Francisco Bay Area in general is one of the most diverse areas in the United States, with more than 30% of the population being foreign born. It’s an attractive area for immigrants as it fosters an atmosphere of inclusiveness allowing religious and cultural diversity to flourish. In fact, that's the hallmark of San Francisco-- diversity and inclusion.

In the past three decades, there has been a huge growth in the number of Muslims living in the area, mainly due to the industry of information technology, which requires educated and skilled labor. The increase in the number of Muslims has led to a growth in the number of mosques and community institutions.

Here are some quick points from the ISPU study:

  • Bay Area Muslim Population Is Diverse: The Muslim population in the Bay Area is very diverse, made up of a mix of different racial and ethnic groups;
  • High Education Levels Among Bay Area Muslims: Many of the Bay Area Muslims arrived to the US already being highly educated;
  • Bay Area Muslims Are Multi-Lingual: Almost 70% of Bay Area Muslims speak at least three different languages;
  • Higher-Than-Average Median Incomes Among Silicon Valley Muslims. Bay Area Muslims  have a median income of $70,686, much higher than the national median income of $50,054.

According to survey responses, a majority of participants find that religion is an important part of their lives. The majority of them believe in giving to charity, and they are also very involved in volunteer work in the community. The respondents are well versed in politics, with many agreeing that American Muslims must be actively involved in their communities at the national and local levels.

While there are many good things about the community, it is not devoid of challenges, whether internal or external.

A major problem being faced is the challenge of Islamophobia in the post 9/11 era. Participants strongly feel the rising tide of discrimination; especially in school aged children. There is also the issue of the media’s portrayal of Muslims, which seems to affect young people the most in terms of their self-image and well being.

An important but often overlooked issue is that many Muslims feel as if they are double minorities. Because many live in isolated immigrant communities, there is a feeling of exclusion occurring, especially within the LGBT community.

The study includes the good, bad, and in between about the Bay Area Muslim community as well as recommendations for moving forward.

You can check it out at

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