Muslim Americans


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Muslim Americans

  1. 1. MUSLIM AMERICANSJune 30, 2012
  2. 2. WHAT IS A MUSLIM?“If you are a Muslim, Islam is your identity. You can be a dutiful Muslim, or a sinful one, still your identity is a Muslim. In order to be a Muslim, you have to consider yourself to be a slave, and a servant of Allah; accountable to His command and subject to His will.” –
  3. 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF MUSLIMAMERICANS Practice the religion of Islam Live in America (immigrants, U.S. born, or converts) Exist to serve Allah (God) Follow six major beliefs in  One God  Angels of God  Books of God (Quran, Torah, Gospels, Psalms, Scrolls)  Prophets or Messengers of God  Day of Judgment  Divine Decree – whatever happens in life is Allah’s will Level of commitment and practice varies (as with all religions and ways of life)
  4. 4. CULTURE - BACKGROUND Extremely diverse group from over 80 different countries  Africans, Asians, Europeans, and Arabians  Predominantly African American Common connection -- Islamic religious beliefs  People were created to worship Allah (God) Strong sense of commitment to family and community Continually changing demographics due to high rates of conversion to Islam in existing U.S. population
  5. 5. CULTURE – FOUNDED ON RELIGIOUS BELIEFS Acts of Worship Form a Way of Life  Declaration of Faith  Prayer  Charity  Fasting  Pilgrimage Guiding principle for assimilation “…everything in a culture is permissible except that which is explicitly prohibited by Islamic teaching….” (Husain & Ross-Sheriff, 2011, p. 362) Many beliefs are consistent with Christianity and Judaism
  6. 6. CULTURE – ISLAMIC VALUES Peacefulness and charity are treasured and practiced Prayer is primary source of guidance Men and women are deemed equal Marriage and family are expected and valued – strong allegiance to extended family and elderly Education is paramount Modesty is emphasized (dress and behavior) Harm to one’s self is prohibited (alcohol, drugs, some meats, gambling, greed) Charity is promoted (2.5% tithing)
  7. 7. U.S. HISTORY – EARLY ARRIVALS First Muslim explorers came to U.S. in 1100s Most notable arrivals (approximately 10 million) were part of the African slave trade in 1500s Immigrants in 1900s came from Palestine, Lebanon, and Pakistan – mostly unskilled looking for work Skilled professionals and students arrived in 1950s looking for improved living conditions  Rise of Muslim communities and Islamic groups  Increase in Black Muslim representation
  8. 8. PRESENT DAY POPULATION GROWTH Conversion to Islam accounts for significant growth in Muslim American communities Immigration continues through family sponsorship, refugees, and government issued lottery visas
  9. 9. POPULATION STATISTICS 1.57 billion Muslims worldwide 2.5 –10 million Muslim Americans (estimated – not tracked) 65% of Muslim Americans are 1st generation immigrants 35% of Muslim American population born in U.S. Two-thirds of Muslim American population came to America after 1990  Arab countries, South Asia, Africa, and Europe Population increasing due to third generation births and conversion to Islam  Fastest growing religion in the United States
  10. 10. HISTORY - OPPRESSION Oppression stems from U.S. relations with Muslim countries and perceived connections to terrorism Racism and bigotry also prevail, particularly if Black or dark skinned Culturally derived misconceptions exist about women Post-9/11 struggles with harassment and bullying Assimilation and peer pressure challenge youth where modesty and American culture conflict (music, dress, dating)
  11. 11. U.S. POPULATION CONSTRUCT 54% Male and 46% Female Generally young, educated, and financially sound (many are now third generation Americans)  Education and financial stats align with general U.S. population  41% have household income of $50,000 or higher  24% have college degrees  48% are between age 30-49  72% say religion is very important Geographically dispersed throughout U.S. with heavy concentration in cities on coasts
  12. 12. U.S. POPULATION CONSTRUCT CONTINUED Political attitudes follow general American population except where foreign policy is concerned Despite practiced American patriotism, Muslims face increasingly intense scrutiny and anti-Islamic behavior Concerns about mental health and substance abuse due to dual identity (Muslim and American)  Not likely to seek treatment; turn to prayer  Privacy concerns
  13. 13. ELDERLY Often immigrants, unskilled, and poorer Highly respected Typically reside with extended family Access to health care is a concern since Medicare and Medicaid cover nursing homes or long-term care facilities, limiting coverage of care at home
  14. 14. WOMEN Considered equal to men Encouraged to receive an education and pursue careers Inspiration of children’s education and upbringing Practice modesty; although styles vary Exploitation, abuse, and oppression are not the Muslim way, but rather byproducts of other cultural practices.
  15. 15. YOUTH Raised to be respectful and obedient  Particularly respectful of elders Encouraged to become educated Girls practice modesty (dress and behavior) and are not permitted to date before marriage Lead double lives with “American” friends and “Muslim” friends Subject to extreme bullying and peer pressure
  16. 16. BARRIERS TO EDUCATION Education among men and women is strongly encouraged Greatest challenge for the Muslim American student is bullying  Given the vast diversity within the Muslim American community, additional challenges (racism ) exist due to other cultural influences or circumstances. Bullying often leads to depression and addiction  Allah is primary source of guidance  Not likely to seek help from social workers or health care providers
  17. 17. STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERSAND SCHOOLS First, educate yourself…adults are often the root cause of Muslim American bullying Educate students about  Muslim American history, beliefs, and values  Middle East and Asia  History of Islam Draw on prior knowledge  9/11 vs. Timothy McVeigh vs. Hitler Leverage social media and technology Bring in guest speakers to make it real
  18. 18. STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL Be Aware of Bullying  Know the signs  Actively address concerns Create a culture of respect and tolerance  Acknowledge religious practices, holidays, and prohibitions  Encourage discussions, questions, role playing and debates on current events  Promote student advocacy
  19. 19. LESSON PLAN –APPRECIATING ISLAM (INTRODUCTION) Student Population: Grade 6 Catholic School Students Subject Area: Religion Background: Strong understanding of Christianity. Very little understanding of other religions. Strong connection to events of 9/11 through media and school. A fair number of family members are in the military stationed in Afghanistan. Weak appreciation of diversity.
  20. 20. LESSON PLAN – APPRECIATING ISLAM(INTRODUCTION) CONTINUED Objective: Raise student awareness of Islamic beliefs and practices in order to foster an environment of respect and tolerance and appreciation of diversity. Activator: Collectively brainstorm a list of core beliefs and practices in Catholicism. Next brainstorm a list of what students know or believe about Muslims and Islam. Introduction: Video introduction to Islam; Introduce and describe (unveil) the six major beliefs, five major duties, prophets, sacred texts, and “leadership” of Islam. Discuss similarities and differences to Catholicism. Activity: Students create a Venn diagram comparing their Catholic beliefs and practices to those of Islam. Students present diagrams and discuss prior misconceptions. Wrap Up: Summary video of Islam
  21. 21. LESSON PLAN – APPRECIATING ISLAM(INTRODUCTION) CONTINUED Extensions:  Continue to explore Muslim and Catholic comparisons in a social context including dress, music, foods, holidays, and prayer. Students write about or role-play a common social situation they experience and how it would differ if they were Muslim.  Discuss the impact of 9/11 on Muslim Americans. Introduce students to anti-Islamic scenarios and discuss bystander vs. upstander responses. Students role-play different responses.
  22. 22. INTERNET RESOURCES IslamiCity Islamic American University Islamic Society of North America Muslim American Civic and Cultural Association Muslim American Society Muslims for America Quran Institute The American Muslim The Straight Path Initiative
  23. 23. COMMUNITY RESOURCES Mosques – A place of prayer, socialization, celebration, and learning at the community level Islamic Schools – Community-based alternative to public schools instilling Islamic values and practicing Muslim ways of life Muslim American Society – Local chapters provide education about Islam, community service, and activism Islamic American University – Designed to teach Islamic sciences and Arabic language to undergraduate and graduate students
  24. 24. COMMUNITY RESOURCES Scouting – working with the Girl and Boy Scouts of America to teach the fundamentals of scouting and provide a source of recreation and community service Quran Institute – Help Muslims to fully understand the teachings of the Quran; primarily done in a homeschool format online via Skype The Straight Path Initiative – Aimed at 15-30 year olds, focused on helping youth and young adults to combat extremism and radicalism while developing bicultural competence
  25. 25. SOURCES A brief history of Islam in the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ahmad, I. (2011, November 20). Defining the American Muslim identity. Retrieved from Al-Disi, H. & Addams, J. (2003, November). The Zakat: An act of charity, a tax and a tithe. Retrieved from Al-Heeti, R. (2007, May 11). Why nursing homes will not work: Caring for the needs of the aging Muslim American population. The Elder Law Journal, 15, 206. Retrieved from Auda, J. (2011, January 4). The role of the mosque. Retrieved from islam/worship/prayers/450408-the-role-of-the-mosque.html Bryner, J. (2008, October 30). The truth about Muslims in America. Retrieved from america.html
  26. 26. SOURCES Clock, G. (Ed.). (2008, December 18). Muslims in America – A statistical portrait. In Being Muslim in America. Retrieved from english/2008/December/20081222090246jmnamdeirf0.4547083.html Hakim, S. (n.d.). Muslims teachers guide: Beliefs and daily lives of Muslims. Retrieved from Holcomb, S. (n.d.). Muslims in America: When bullying meets religion. Retrieved from Husain, A. & Ross-Sheriff, F. (2011). Cultural competence with Muslim Americans. In D. Lum (Ed.), Culturally competent practice: A framework for understanding diverse groups and justice issues (pp. 358-389). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Numan, F. (1992, December). American Muslim history: A chronological observation. Retrieved from