The immigrant experience is deeply ingrained in the fabric of Islam in America. Most U.S. Muslim adults (58%) hail from other parts of the globe, their presence in America owing largely to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that lowered barriers to immigration from Asia, Africa and other regions outside Europe.
But the U.S.-born share of the American Muslim population is also considerable (42%). It consists of descendants of Muslim immigrants, converts to Islam (many of them black) and descendants of converts.
When Pew Research Center surveyed American Muslim adults in 2017, the findings revealed important similarities between foreign-born and U.S.-born Muslims. For example, immigrants and U.S.-born Muslims engage in religious practices at about the same levels. At the same time, there are also important differences. Immigrants tend to have secured a stronger socioeconomic foothold than U.S.-born Muslims, and they generally express more positive opinions about their place in America.