Muslim Businesses in the American Economy


Muslim American income and education levels generally mirror the mainstream public. 27% own their own businesses. 23% are job creators, employing more than 5 people full-time. 10% of America’s 200,000 medical doctors are Muslim.  I tried to find out how many U.S. lawyers, school teachers, housewives, nurses, and cab drivers happen to be Muslim, but the few studies that offer such information was outdated.  Although sometimes the absent data was what stood out. For example, 50% of American Muslims were not born here, a majority from the older generations.  In the 1990s, turmoil in Somalia sent 50,000 refugees to Minnesota. Near-equatorial Somalis have done well in the snowy north. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Muslim women business owners there are driving the growth of one of the largest Somali business centers in America.  Out of 175 clothing stores, hair salons, henna shops, and restaurants, 150 are owned by women. Somali unemployment in Minnesota has dropped from 20% in 2010 to 6% in 2013. At a rival Somali mall across town, in a building with leopards painted on the side, 36 of the 47 business have female owners.  So not only are these businesses being ran successfully by Muslim Americans, but also by Muslim women.  A refugee with a Pakistani background and a knack for making and marketing natural foods. Moved on from the idea of making Spring water into yogurt to  in 2007  idea for Halal foods, what Hebrew National had done for Kosher products: meet the needs of a specific religious community, one with dietary restrictions and trained taste buds, while appealing to “the concentric ring” of other consumers inclined to favor carefully handled foods.

By 2014 his company, Saffron Road, had fifty different products, a close partnership with the Whole Foods chain, and annual sales of around $35 million.  

Grameen helps women who live in poverty start small businesses to build better lives for their families. It offers small loans, training, and support to fight poverty and transform communities in the USA.   Eight years ago it was easier for women to get a fresh start on their business because Grameen was just opening, and now it is more difficult.  But thanks to communities such as some in Washington there are efforts to not only shop local, but also shop Muslim.  The top five local Muslim shops in the area of this promotion would be:  “Robali Halal Meat & Deli, Mawadda Cafe, Amin International Grocery & Deli, Somali Cafe, and Olympic Express.”

Most of the young Muslims are second generation, their parents have struggled to provide them good education and foundation. The hard work is now paying off and the creativity is seen in many startups which is now shaping the discourse of American Muslims and their entrepreneurship spirit. Some companies are developing mainstream products, some are developing products focused on social responsibility and the demand which exists amongst American Muslims.  Only time can tell if they will be successful with the support of only 6 to 7 Million American Muslims.Thanks to AMCC I was able to find the top seven Muslim owned businesses and what they provide for the community.  These companies would be:

Islamic Finance and Sharia Compliant Investments

  • Amana Mutual Funds
  • Guidance Residential Mortgage
  • Zayan Takaful Insurance
  • University Islamic Financial Bank

Islamic Clothing and Muslim Lifestyle

  • MuslimGear
  • Shukr Clothing

Digital Marketing

  • Muslim AdNetwork

Halal Food & Travel

  • Crescent Halal
  • Midamar
  • HalalTrip


  • Edible Arrangement

Islamic Education and Arabic learning

  • Bayyinah
  • AlMaghrib Institute
  • Foundation for Knowledge and Development

Islamic Media and Entertainment Products

  • Astrolabe
  • SoundVision