'Muslims contribute heavily to U.S. economy'

Although American Muslims have a purchasing power estimated at $170 billion annually, businesses often fail to recognize their economic power.

'Muslims contribute heavily to U.S. economy'
Although American Muslims account for six to eight million of the U.S. population, with a purchasing power estimated at $170 billion annually, businesses often fail to recognize their economic power.

Economic contributions of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. were fully analyzed in a Wayne State University report titled "Arab American Economic Contribution Study" and a recent J. Walter Thompson survey called “Marketing to Muslims”.

"In the U.S., the Arab and Muslim communities are small but generally very affluent and highly entrepreneurial," Nasser Beydoun, chairman of the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday in Dearborn.

Michigan is home to the third largest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S. after California and New York, it is the hometown of about 400,000 Muslims in metropolitan Detroit and 500,000 throughout the state.

According to the WSU report, released Wednesday, Arab Americans and Muslims account for nearly 6% of the workforce and earn between $5.4 billion and $7.7 billion a year in southeast Michigan.

People often fail to distinguish between ethnicity and religion, which stands in the way of advertisers interested in selling to Muslim populations.

Dearborn Heights resident Nadia Khalil sees little effort being made by major corporations to cater to Muslim consumers.

The 28-year-old registered nurse and married mother of an 8-month-old rarely sees advertising for foods Muslims favor, such as Happiness Bread, and has rarely come across mainstream retail shops that sell Muslim-specific clothing, such as head scarves.

"I think it would help to have advertising geared toward us, but I don't think people expect to see it anyway," Khalil said.

"During Ramadan, for example, we get recognized, but it's not as much as say Breast Cancer Awareness month or the African-American one. I feel we still don't have as much of a voice as other communities,” she added.

The food, finance and apparel businesses appear to be the most influential markets for Muslim consumers nationwide.

According to the Thompson study, the global halal market (food prepared in accordance with Islamic law) is worth an estimated $580 billion annually.

"We need to educate ourselves and gain a broader understanding of the Muslim population," said Ann Mack, director of trend spotting for Thompson and one of the authors of the study.

The study, which was conducted earlier this year, interviewed 350 Muslim Americans in 20 states including Michigan. It found:

• Muslims make up at least 2% of the U.S. population and two-thirds are under the age of 40.

• About 21% of Muslim Americans between the ages of 25 to 34 are registered voters, compared with 15% of people in that group across the country.

• Nearly 30% of U.S. Muslims are converts to Islam.

• 71% of Muslims believe advertisers rarely show anyone of their faith or ethnicity in advertising. That compares with 34% of the general population that believes the same thing.

• Around 70% of American Muslims over 25 have a college education, compared to 26% of the general U.S. population.

Source: Islamonline
Last Mod: 08 Mayıs 2007, 18:28
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