Monday, August 28, 2006

The Rejectionist Generation

Geneive Abdo spent two years traveling the country and interviewing a wide variety of Muslims in America. These quotes are from her piece in the Washington Post:

I found few signs of London-style radicalism among Muslims in the United States. At the same time, the real story of American Muslims is one of accelerating alienation from the mainstream of U.S. life, with Muslims in this country choosing their Islamic identity over their American one.

A new generation of American Muslims -- living in the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- is becoming more religious. They are more likely to take comfort in their own communities, and less likely to embrace the nation's fabled melting pot of shared values and common culture.
... [snip] ...
From schools to language to religion, American Muslims are becoming a people apart.
... [snip] ...
"I know I don't have to fit in," she [Ismahan, a computer scientist in
Michigan] said. "I don't think Muslims have to assimilate. We are not treated like Americans. At work, I get up from my desk and go to pray. I thought I would face opposition from my boss. Even before I realized he didn't mind, I thought, 'I have a right to be a Muslim, and I don't have to assimilate.' "
... [snip] ...
Despite contemporary public opinion -- or perhaps because of it -- Muslim Americans consider Islam their defining characteristic, beyond any national identity. In this way, their experience in the United States resembles that of their co-religionists in Europe, where mosques are also growing, Islamic schools are being built, and practicing the faith is the center of life, particularly for the young generation. In Europe and the United States, young Muslims are
unifying around popular imams they believe understand the challenges they face in Western societies ...


Blogger Catherine said...

Of course her boss didn't care. If she wasn't being disruptive. But how does his acceptance of her religion make her feel less in touch with America? Was she disappointed that noone made a stink because it was time for her prayers? American Muslims have to stop thinking that they are the only ones who are different. I went to school with kosher kids who couldn't eat at the fast food joints with us. I couldn't make plans on Saterday or Sunday mornings because I had to go to religious studies and Mass. And that was just hte religious differences, we all had racial and ethnic differences where I grew up. People have to stop concentrating on the differences and share the things they have incommon. Sheesh.


8:19 PM  

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