By Abdul Malik Mujahid – © Sound Vision

In a Gallup survey last year, 26 percent of Muslim youth in the United States reported feeling angry as compared to 14 percent of Protestant youth and 18 percent of the general American population. They are angrier than their parents. This survey had 10 questions on mental health and almost all results when it came to young Muslims revealed that they were the least happy and the most angry.

It is important to note that this March 2009 report, entitled, “Muslim Americans: A National Portrait,” is not just any poll or survey. It is highly reliable since it compiles results of almost 500 Gallup surveys. The Gallup surveys America every day and for this report, they picked a year and a half worth of surveys and cross-tabulated the results among different faith groups between Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons and the general American population.

It is critical that all community leaders, Muslims and non-profit foundations, as well as our government, pay more attention to this demographic group and find effective ways to address its challenges.

My reaction: So stunned I had to meet with Gallup's pollsters

Only 40 percent of Muslim youth surveyed by Gallup considered themselves to be “thriving” as compared to 61 percent of Protestants and 53 percent of the general U.S. population. That is the lowest level among all youth groups surveyed.

After reading the whole report, I was so concerned about the findings revealing the anger and frustration of our youth that I interviewed one of the report's senior analysts for Radio Islam and met the other two in person to discuss these statistics.

I asked them what they thought would be the three major reasons for American Muslim youth's lower level of happiness and higher level of anger. Unfortunately, Gallup did not ask those questions in their survey. But I found in their study and in other ones, some other information which might provide insight into this.

What young Muslims are facing in America

Islamophobia clearly seems to be playing a role in shaping the attitudes of young Muslims. According to one Zogby international poll, 75 percent of young Muslims said they or someone they know has been discriminated against. A Columbia University survey of Muslim students in New York public schools found that 28 percent had been stopped by police as a result of racial profiling and seven percent of them said they had been physically assaulted because of who they are.

This may explain why young Muslims are also the least likely to feel safe at night in their communities. According to the Gallup survey, only 59 percent of young Muslims responded yes to the question “do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or the area in which you live” as compared to 70 percent of youth in the general U.S. population.

The Gallup survey found that young Muslims are also less likely to be employed. Sixty-seven percent as opposed to 79 percent of young Protestants who have jobs. Muslim youth were also the least likely youth group to report being satisfied with their jobs.

The human face of this pressure from Islamophobia can be found in cases like that of a Muslim girl featured on the NPR program “This American Life” in December 2006. The show detailed how she went from being a well-adjusted student to a pariah mocked by both fellow students and teachers for her faith. This was at a school in an unnamed small town in the state of New York. As a result, she wanted to leave Islam. The crisis also resulted in her parents splitting up.

Harassment and discrimination are hardly news to older American Muslims, who have become accustomed to hearing or even experiencing it on a regular basis. The FBI has conducted more than 500,000 interviews of Muslims in America; American Muslim leaders, advocates and activists are routinely harassed when traveling, especially when returning home; mosques in America have been checked for nuclear bombs; a majority of Americans think very negatively of Islam and Muslims and 22 percent don't even want a Muslim as their neighbor.

In addition, America's wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, its heavy military presence in all but 19 of the world's 195 countries and the deadly acts of terrorists have led to deep-seated animosity towards Islam and Muslims.

What had not been known on a quantitative level until the Gallup survey was how deeply this has all affected Muslim youth. It's obvious that there has been a serious trickle down effect.

For instance, Muslim wages post-9/11 have gone down by 10 percent and scholars, counselors and community activists have reported that there are a higher number of mental health issues Muslims are grappling with. All of these factors affect youth in our community as well, who are not immune to their environment.

How young Muslims are responding to these pressures

Young Muslims are responding differently to these pressures. Forty-seven percent of college-going young Muslims drink alcohol, while 16 percent engage in binge drinking; 29 percent of Muslim students in New York public schools sometimes use a non-Muslim name to get by. Some have changed their names to Christian names. A small number have joined urban gangs. Some have left Islam and some have become more religious.

These pressures and the resulting anger may explain why Muslim youth are the most disengaged among all the youth groups surveyed by Gallup when it comes to voting. Young Muslim Americans are the lowest percentage of any youth group registered to vote.

This marginalization of the community and alienation of its youth constitutes a breeding ground for extremism, while proper engagement has only benefits for both Muslims and the United States in general.

The risk of rising extremism among young Muslims

When a Pew survey in May 2006 asked “can suicide bombings of civilian targets to defend Islam be justified?” 69 percent of American Muslims, aged 18 to 29, said never; 26 percent said yes; 15 percent said often; 11 percent said rarely and 5 percent said they didn't know.

These 31 percent who did not choose the “never” option are a real concern for this author, considering that in Islamic law, taking a civilian's life is never justified. Period. To figure out who this particular subset of young Muslims are, we need to ask the following questions:

Are these Muslims driven by any ideology?

Have they accepted extremist interpretations?

Why have they come to this conclusion?

Were the Pew's questions clear enough?

Were they thinking of a battlefield while answering these questions or of their neighborhoods?

No matter how we look at the data, these are serious numbers which require serious deliberation in our society, our Muslim communities, as well as for people concerned with peace and justice, our governments as well as those responsible for keeping our neighborhoods safe and healthy.

Muslim Americans are concerned about youth radicalism

It seems as if a good number of Muslims are concerned about this issue of youth and radicalism as well. A Pew survey question asked respondents “how concerned are you about the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S.” Thirty-six percent said “very concerned” and 25 percent reported being “somewhat concerned.”

While this author has never been worried about Osama bin Laden having any appeal to Muslim Americans, I am not so sure about Anwar al-Awlaki. The latter is a U.S.-born citizen who has served as an imam in three masjids in America, and has reportedly been considered a balanced source of Islamic education through his audio CDs for a number of years. His audio lectures have sold far more widely than the most popular American Muslim preacher, Hamza Yusuf. The fact that Al-Awlaki has reportedly condoned violence is the most authoritative challenge to date for the Muslim community in North America, despite the fact that he currently lives in Yemen.

The challenge of engagement: start with the schools and colleges

Almost 99 percent of Muslim children attend public schools. Only one percent attend an Islamic day school. About four percent attend some form of additional Islamic education like weekend schools which are mostly limited to 40 hours of instruction per year. Therefore, the place where almost all Muslim youth are found are in American schools, colleges, and universities.

Our schools, our foundations, and people in the field of youth development must urgently develop programs and devise strategies which focus on engaging Muslim youth positively.

The mainstream media must equate Islamophobia with racism

Considering that most young people spend over 50 hours a week consuming media, it is important that responsible media discuss the challenges of Islamophobia and demonization of Muslims in American society. We cannot have healthy children unless we improve the environment we are raising our children in.

Although many Muslim organizations are trying to reach out to the media, their efforts seem to have had little impact on Islamophobia in society. The vilification of Muslims and Islam has become relentless. Muslims are consistently portrayed as “the other,” not part of the United States, and unworthy of tolerance. Millions of dollars are being spent on a focused program that emphasizes that Muslims are inherently violent, holding them responsible for WWI and WWII, along with recent conflicts.

Even organizations like The ADL (Anti-Defamation League), which was established to fight hate, suggested that Islam's declaration of faith, the Shahada, is an “expression of hate” that is “closely identified” with terrorism. They later apologized.

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has done an excellent job of documenting how Islamophobia is becoming mainstream.

Public policy must engage Muslims

While President Barack Obama has been reaching out to the Muslim world since he took office, it is critical that he engage Muslims at home first. America needs its Muslims, even the only Muslim serving in the White House who helped the President with his speeches, is no longer working there.

The last presidential administration treated American Muslims as virtual enemies of the state, discouraged our civic involvement and suppressed our voices. We were isolated and essentially shunned. In this new era of change, however, it is vital to U.S. interests to engage American Muslims as partners in building relationships with the Muslim world. This is not only a matter of respect, but one of common interests.

American Muslims are a global village made up of diverse communities of African-Americans and immigrants from many nations. Among Muslims, they is one of the largest groups of highly educated professionals in the world.

Tens of thousands are physicians and surgeons. Others serve in higher education. Many proudly serve in the U.S. military. I personally know of at least six Muslims in Chicago who played critical roles in key Muslim governments. Many are directly connected with the ruling elites of the countries of their birth.

Part of the change that American Muslims hope for is to be valued as an asset by their country rather than viewed as suspects.

Muslims are not looking for handouts. We're simply striving for equal opportunity and inclusiveness. That will give a far better message to the Muslim world than speeches. This will send a far stronger message to Muslim youth in America than anything else.

The Muslim community must reallocate its resources for youth development

The Muslim community in the United States is a strong and self-reliant community. It is pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars every year in Islamic education. However, most of these funds are going into Islamic schools. This author is personally committed to Muslim schools. However, these institutions educate less than one percent of Muslim students. The above described challenge requires our community to reallocate a substantial amount of its resources to reaching out to our youth in public schools and campuses for supplemental education, moral support and counseling.

Just looking at five campuses in Chicago, I noticed that Hillel chapters, which represent Jewish students, have more than 30 full-time staff including rabbis. However, there is not a single full-time or part-time staff member at Muslim organizations on campus, much less an Islamic scholar. We can learn a great deal from the Jewish community in the U.S. in their struggle to keep young Jews connected to their Jewish heritage and community.

Sound Vision intends to develop a great amount of content this year focused on topics like Islam in a pluralistic context and discussing objections to Islam. However, we and others who have been concerned about the challenges and frustrations of Muslim youth in America are unable to do much because of the absence of resources.

Donate to the cause at Sound Vision Foundation. Reproduced with permission.

64 Responses

  1. Shiraz at Ilmsummit

    Assalamu alaikum,

    SubhanAllah! you really don’t think of these things until you see the facts that we are actually being marginalized.

    I myself can’t say that I have experienced direct racism or descrimination. My main problem would actually be with Muslims, not non-Muslims. But I have seen that those things that Musims seem so afraid of doing or saying, non-Muslims don’t even think about. Like the beard. I was told for years that it will make people suspicious of me, stop me from getting jobs, etc. But so far I haven’t gotten any of that. We fail to realize if we take our deen outside the masjid, non-Muslims will realize that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of.

    One factor we need to look at when considering young Muslims being angry is their own homes. These Muslims polled are caught between Islam and their cultures and American society. Their parents tell them to pray, but then they are made to take their culture before Islam, then they are told to tone it down when they are in front of non-Muslims. How can Muslims not be angry, whether practicing or not practicing, when they are being feed a cultural Islam that is so impractical.

    Wassalamu alaikum.

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    • amad

      This sort of cut and paste hadith/verse responses are testimony to the fact that some people unfortunately don’t have real answers and would like to resort to “final judgments”.

      There is a context to the verse. Most scholars do not believe emigration is required or mandatory, let alone practical.

      Pls recognize the reality of the Muslim presence in the West. Leaving was and is never going to be a solution, or a practical goal.

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      • Uthman

        Br Amad, why is there an insistence on “not leaving”?

        Every muslim must seek out the truth and see what is best for his deen and akhira. On the Day of Jugement, I cannot say there was a difference of opinion. I will be asked was the earth spacious for you to make hijrah? If I did not have a legitimate excuse then why did I stay behind?

        All of this and questions are the like are very relevant. The akhira puts things in perspective. So the ultimate goal is the akhira and working towards its desitnation (i.e. jannah) is not easy and requires sacrifices for the sake of one’s religion and one’s ahl wa maal.

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      • amad

        That issue has been discussed ad nauseum before and this is not the post to rehash it. What we may think will be asked by Allah, only Allah knows if we will be asked that. And we cannot expect people to focus on this to the exclusion of what is understood by the people of knowledge.

        Needless to say the significant majority of scholars in the West would agree with what I stated (they are not following me, rather I am following them). So, if someone disagrees, by all means let him or her. However, we cannot let conversations about the reality of living in the West hijacked by this tangential issue.

        If we ever have a post on hijrah, you are free to bring your points up. Until then, this particular tangent on the topic is closed. Hope you understand.

        wasalam.

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      • Uthman

        Agreed. Not the right place to discuss this.

        Wasalam o alaykum

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      • Hassan

        Am I sick, naivete, stupid. misguided or something that as I was reading the article, hijrah kept coming in my mind? I think you are in blog business for such a long time that you would know that all humans function differently.

        I am not saying (I do not have right to) to do hijrah or not to do hijrah, but I am saying it was relevant to the article, or atleast I thought so, and the OutCast guy, and ofcourse you did not, which is fine, but why silence the voice?

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      • Ify Okoye

        Tell us, what about hijrah came to mind while you read the article? Hijrah for yourself (unless you’re already in a Muslim country?), hijrah for others, hijrah for everyone, hijrah to which land, do you think Muslim countries would want to accept or be able to absorb millions of Muslims including those with no connection to that land? What about the logistics of it work, shelter, social services, marriage? Will hijrah solve the issue of anger amongst the youth? It seems some youth in Muslim countries are just as angry if not more so than their counterparts in the West.

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      • amad

        jazakallahkhair Uthman.
        the reality is that millions of Muslims are here in the West, whether by choice or fate. There is no practical hijrah solution offered by anyone in the world for all the Muslims. So, even if 1% managed to move out, the 99% are still stuck here facing the reality of the situation. Hijrah is a cop-out discussion for many of these who have no choice in addition to being irrelevant and unhelpful.

        w/s
        P.S. Interestingly, hijrah is the only topic that many conservative Muslims and islamophobes would agree on– the latter would want us to leave as well :)

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      • Hassan

        Sister ify, you are asking details and solutions, which can be definitely discussed, debated, scholars opinions can be used to support opinion, logistics can come into place, and in the end perhaps hijrah would be either ruled out completely or may be not (I do not know), I am just saying while reading the article hijrah for muslims (broadly speaking) came to my mind, and this debate is being shut down as irrelevant to article. So if it is allowed, then people would contribute to it with different angle.

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      • Uthman

        wa iyyak Br Amad. Wil be waiting for that hijrah post :)

        Until then this discussion is on hold.

        wa jazakAllah khair wasalam o alaykum

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      • Hassan

        He/She has right to express their opinion in the blog, and specially it is not at all nasty, I am afraid I am trying to find good respectable words to point out that what you said was not appropriate response

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      • amad

        Thanks.
        Anyone can bring up anything, but as editors, we have the right to shut off unrelated tangents.
        And it’s no one’s right to say whatever they wish on a blog that they don’t own, its a privilege. See Right vs. Privilege.

        Now lets move on.

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      • Outcast

        So do you prefer someone to give their (stupid) OPINION or FEELINGS rather than FACTS, i.e., cut and pasting info that is factual…that’s the problem with the ‘new generation of muslims’ today where everything is now based on how ‘I’ feel, what ‘I’ want, what ‘I think is right’, me, me, me…

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      • Outcast

        one more thing “some people unfortunately don’t have real answers ”

        What’s your definition of real answers? If I were to agree with you then that would be a “real answer”?

        simply put- you can’t handle the TRUTH!

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      • Amad

        Bro, even an atheist can cut and paste a verse. Would you consider that a “real answer” or the “truth”? Yes, it is truthful as Allah is all truthful. But you need a context, you need an understanding, you need scholarly views. It’s not about what I feel or you feel. It is how scholars have interpreted this verse.

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      • Abu Abdillah

        Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (raheemahulllah) was asked about this matter and he said:

        “This is one of the most difficult issues nowadays because countries vary, as stated above, and because for some Muslims, if they go back to their homelands they will be persecuted for their religion whereas they are safe from that in the kaafir countries. But if we say that it is haraam for them to settle among the kuffaar, then where is the Islamic state that will accept them and allow them to settle there?! This is the meaning of what he said, may Allaah have mercy on him.”

        I think all these internet copy-pasters need to humble themselves and ask the people of knowledge as Allah mentions before misusing ayaat and ahadith in a context that is not appropriate. BarakAllah feekum.

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      • Yus from the Nati

        @Abu Abdillah:

        Could you please provide the quote and reference where you got it from of Sh. ‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله.

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      • Outcast

        “Even an atheist can cut and paste”

        Comparing apples and oranges is weak. Your comments are weak, baseless and a cop-out in terms of dealing with the TRUTH. In this religion there is no place for your so called “real answers” when we’ve already been given the best guidance for mankind to follow.

        And, even though somethings may not be realistic for ALL muslims to do and follow, doesn’t mean that we should sweep them under the rug especially when they are in the best interest of muslims. Every options should be addressed and taken into consideration before emotions (real answers) get in the way of what muslims NEED to be doing.

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      • Outcast

        “We ask Allah to rectify the Muslims’ affairs and to give them an understanding of their true religion for verily the Muslim when he understands Allaah’s religion he magnifies the which Allaah magnifies’ and he despises that which Allah despises and when he is ignorant of Allaah’s religion the true state of affairs get altered on him according to his level of ignorance. And Allah is the one whose help is sought”.

        http://muslimsrus.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/residing-amongst-the-disbelievers/

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    • Ify Okoye

      In my experience, this answer is among the reasons Muslims youth are “least likely to be thriving” or engaged socially or politically or have formed a coherent identity because we have Muslims who think the solution to all issues is to make hijrah. Unfortunately, the advice often stops there. I remember one of our teachers who actually left the U.S. and made hijrah in the 70s mentioned that he went to the Muslim world expecting to find sahaba and what they found was that many countries are less free and the people have worse character than the non-Muslim countries they left. His advice to us was to plant out flag where ever we can practice our Islam in the best manner even if that is in a non-Muslim country.

      Also, the conflicting influences of cultural Islam, our survey on MM, albeit unscientific, indicated that 1/3 of our readers don’t even get up for fajr regularly, which is a pathetic statistic. Also, look to the stats on Muslims who drink or change their names to “fit in” in the Gallup survey. People who may Muslim in name only but do not practice their religion may still have experienced forms of discrimination post 9/11. These can add to the confusion.

      Throw in wars, seemingly intractable political situations, terrorism, and charismatic figures calling this way or that way, and it’s no wonder people are confused. It is only in the last few years that we have heard a more nuanced voice from some activists and scholars trying to clear this confusion to Muslims in the West but in the process we may have lost a generation of youth.

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      • suhail

        First of all that is whole load of crap if the person who emigrated thought he would find Sahabah in muslim countries. I mean people have to be realistic when they migrate to the muslim lands. I think the only one who think this is those who have never been there and thus have a fairy tale view of muslim lands.

        One thing that people use when people talk about hijrah is that well the other countries are very bad compared to the west etc etc. I agree that this can be the case when it comes to job, everyday stuff, electricity. safety etc. But there are many other things people worry about. Like there kids, there own deen, the society at large etc etc.

        By the way all those people who ran from the muslim countries to the west did not came here to protect there deen rather they came here to live a better life. The same people who came to US for study never return back to work for there own people and improve the conditions there citing all kinds of excuses before even trying to do anything.

        I don’t think that muslims who are living in minority have any choice to migrate as a whole and individually they can migrate if they feel like it. So i do not think there is anyways a blanket fatwa from any of the scholars for muslim minorities to make hijrah as a whole. But i do not think people should ridicule other muslims who have made hijrah to protect themselves from the fitan of the west.

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      • Ify Okoye

        Suhail, I think the remark was facetious considering he has made hijrah and continues to remain outside the U.S. now going on 40 years. But the point remains, many Muslims believe making hijrah is a panacea for all that ails and are bitterly disappointed by the reality they encounter on the ground.

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      • Nm

        I did not follow the whole hijra discussion on here but I believe I read most. I do not believe hijra is an option for all muslims in the west. But i do resent that as soon as that option is mentioned, some people find it rather irritating.

        My family and I chose to move overseas to raise our children. It was made possible for us by Allah and we feel so blessed that we did. Is it the answer for everyone? Nope. But can many people benefit from it. For sure. I know tons of foreign muslims from the west who are happy here and do not wish to return. This whole rhetoric of people who went overseas and returned unhappy needs to be balanced out by stories and experiences of people who stayed and plan on staying. Why the annoyance at the mention of this choice to move overseas…?

        Yes muslim countries have alot of issues but protecting the deen of your children is still relatively easier. I can write a book on it believe me. So when i find comments from people who have never lived abroad and then mention staying in a place where its easier to practice your deen(meaning the west) I find it ill informed and rather naive.

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      • Ahmad Shehu

        Salam sister IFY Okoye, thanks for your comment on THE CHALLENGE OF ANGER AMONG YOUNG MUSLIMS. AHMAD SHEHU

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    • Hassan Adnan

      Assalam O Alikum

      Ma`qil bin Yasar (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The reward of worship performed at a time of trials is equal in reward to an emigration to me.”
      [Muslim].

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    • Iftikhar Ahmad

      Salaam

      It is easy to say” Go back to where you came from”,but do not forget that British Muslims are actually born and educated here. They are in the unenviable position of trying to combine two diffent worlds. That is no easy.

      Attacks on the Muslim community are at an all time high. The newspapers
      are full of abuse against Muslims. Physical attacks are rising. Muslim demonstrators are being sent to prison. The election of a right wing government will only mean more
      anti-Muslim policies while in Europe governments are lining up to ban the Burqa and impose restrictions on the Hijab.

      Multiculturalism is not about separation, ghettoisation or balkanisation. It is, instead, a recognition of both diversity and the need for common ground, mutual respect,and cultural engagement.

      Muslims all over the world never opposed English as a language what they did was opposition of the English culture and their system of education. In Pakistan, the medium of instruction is English and the official language is both English and Urdu. Pakistan is going to send English teachers to Korea for the teaching of English language.

      Muslim parents would like their children to be well versed in standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. Majority of Muslim children leave schools with low grades because state schools with monolingual teachers are not capable of teaching English to bilingual children.At the same time, they need to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.
      I am concerned with the education of the Muslim children. It is nothing to do with integration or segregation. Those state schools where Muslim children are in majority, in my opinion, may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models.

      Bilingual Muslim children could be properly educated if they attend state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

      A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.
      Iftikhar ahmad
      http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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  2. sebkha

    Is any distinction made in the Gallup survey between NOI vs. non-NOI in their definition of Islam? I remember reading the entire Pew study from a few years back, and if I recall correctly, no distinction was drawn in that survey.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think if both are inclusive of NOI, it skews the results.

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    • Ify Okoye

      The Nation of Islam is a very small sub-grouping, I don’t think we should (not saying you are doing so) try to blame this on African Americans. It seems to me the children of immigrants are among the most confused in their identity, neither here nor there, not sure where they fit, not sure if they should participate in the political process or voting (is it kufr or not?), or social services (should we help the non-Muslims or only focus on helping Muslims particularly those “back home”), can we proud Muslims and Americans? And if they return to practicing they are susceptible to extremism, attacking other groups mercilessly, playing war games, putting education and work on hold, thinking imported fatawa and scholars “over there” are more “authentic or real” while ones here are “watered-down sell-outs” before hopefully returning to a moderate path and carving out an identity which works for them.

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    • Yus from the Nati

      I agree. Including NOI/Shii’ in our “Muslim statistics” can/will skew results. This was often the case when citing that the Black-American makes up most of the American Muslim population which may be contested (as clear observation of Muslim-American population says otherwise).

      As far as this study is concerned. Not sure it would matter. Would depend on how many of those people (outside of Orthodox Islam) were questioned, which I assume, not many. و الله أعلم.

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  3. Hena

    Asalamalikum,
    Have been following the discussions on homeschooling on the other post and celebrate the parents who make that choice BUT Brother Mujahid is spot on about finding 99% of Muslim in public schools & community colleges.

    They are the majority, they can not be ignored and left to fend for themselves. They face real pressures. His Hillel comparison there are other organizations ie Campus Crusade for Christ who start from high schools.

    For example, in Sacramento, 2 years ago, during Islam AWARENESS Week when the Christian Civilization Club had booths set up spreading hate about Islam and The Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

    I want to share this very offensive video *** bad language*** vicious insulting of our RAsool (SAW) etc. This was recorded by the members of the club, knowing their hateful signs would elicit angry responses from our youth. May Allah guide them and us ALL.

    Editors please edit if you feel there is no khair in sharing. My point of sharing is for people to see what our young have to go through. They had signs calling Islam=Fascism and insulting the Messenger (SAW).

    It was the presence of Imam Azeez, from neighboring SALAM, who was also the MSA advisor at ARC, who effectively calmed the Muslim students down and guided them through a very tough & volatile week. Our Ulema (scholars) are spread so thin, parents, Muslim brothers/ sisters (esp. MSA Alumni) who have graduated need to step up and volunteer. If there is no youth group in your masjid, or a chapter of the MSA in your local high school help them set one up. Our youth need safe havens where they are accepted despite their flaws.

    Maybe a national Muslim Big Brother/Big Sister program implemented by college MSAs, where mentoring and reaching out to the Muslim Youth.

    I am glad someone (Muslim) took a look at this survey in detail. We have to examine our own instead of letting others evaluate & dissect us. What were the 10 questions asked by Gallup about mental health?

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    • Hena

      Found the ten questions:

      1.Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?
      2.Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about enjoyment?
      3.Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about happiness?
      4.Did you feel well-rested yesterday?
      5.Were you treated with respect all day yesterday?
      6.Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?
      7.Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about worry?
      8.Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about stress?
      9. Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about sadness?
      10.Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about anger?
      11.Did you experience the following feelings during A LOT OF THE DAY yesterday? How about physical pain?

      Another very disturbing finding: Out of all religious groups surveyed, Muslims are the most likely to report being unable to afford basic necessities like food and shelter AND Muslims are the least likely of the religious groups studied to think they can count on someone when they are in trouble.

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  4. Iesa Galloway

    Asalaam Alaikum,

    First I wanted to say JazakAllahu Khairan for this article!

    A couple questions:

    1) Please include the source for this: “Even organizations like The ADL (Anti-Defamation League), which was established to fight hate, suggested that Islam’s declaration of faith, the Shahada, is an “expression of hate” that is “closely identified” with terrorism. They later apologized.”

    2) “The last presidential administration treated American Muslims as virtual enemies of the state, discouraged our civic involvement and suppressed our voices. We were isolated and essentially shunned.” In my opinion Muslims have to work to advance ourselves in any administration. Statements like this are discouraging. There is plenty of opportunity within the spectrum of both the left and right sides of the U.S. political spectrum and we need to seek it out and be engaged. Playing the ‘so & so didn’t cater to us’ card only sets our own limitations on our opportunities.

    Again thank you for this well written piece. May Allah bless the work you are doing at Sound Vision!

    Iesa

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    • BintKhalil

      Walaikum salam

      I have to agree with the second point. The quoted statement seems, for lack of a better word, whiny.

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  5. Saad

    Salam all,

    First of all, thank you for posting a great article. Being a first-generation immigrant myself and moving to the US at age 17 from Pakistan/KSA for college, I come to the conclusion that there are several possible factors that might be negatively influencing our happiness.

    The very first thing that struck me of the Muslim community here in America was that the religious community was extremely sectarian. This would be one of the few countries in the World where Shi’/Sunni sectarianism isn’t much of a problem at all. Instead, I observed Sunni sectarianism which was beyond anything I had experienced in Pakistan or Saudi. It wasn’t just various ideological divisions with Sufis/Salafis/watever but the stratification seemed obvious at both the cultural, ethnic and political level. Pakistani vs Arab vs Bosnian or Albanian vs Nigerian mosques. What this does is it creates an unnecessary dialectic between our religious identities vs our cultural, political or ideological ones. If you primarily self-identify as a Muslim, this could make you very upset.

    These inter-Sunni stratifications also have of an impact on how we behave as a community. There are so many divisions that it is hard for us to put up a concerted effort to achieve any of our goals or ideas. It seems to me that whenever anything happens, each group moves in its own divergent direction and the weighted average of these movements is no movement whatsoever. One may say that we have ISNA or ICNA that give us some direction but I feel that these are organizations in truth, compared to organizations of other religious sects are simply too ineffective to achieve anything at all. If anything at all, ISNA and ICNA’s main achievements are bringing a handful of people from America to a conference once or twice a year.

    Having said that, it would be fine if we didn’t really need to accomplish important goals in this country. Sadly, this is not true. Many Muslims I talk to seem to ignore the poor situation of our community in America saying America is one of the better countries to be Muslim. Sure, we might be richer and better off than our Muslim counterparts in Europe, but the abuses that the system places on us are extreme. Take the Patriot Act or the way the Media maligns us or the way we get stopped at the airport. Or the way that the campaign media made it look like a bad thing that Obama is “Muslim”. Not only that, but whilst the Jewish pro-Israel lobby does its job so effectively, we, being more populous than them supposedly, are unable to accomplish any of our interests in the Middle East. Nor are we able to rectify any of the domestic problems we face on our campuses, workplaces etc.

    Anyhow, I feel that the only solution would be to having one Muslim American community that was united in instead of like 600 organizations that don’t share any direction.This might be a difficult task to accomplish because Muslims are one of the most unorganized people in the world, but I think this is the only way forward. Let’s face it. I don’t think that we can rely on the politicians of this country to help us. We have to help ourselves and to do that, we have to act as one unit.

    Salam

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    • another white brother

      You missed the greatest schism in the community:

      1. Classism i.e. the financial divide, the “haves” vs the “have nots” both economically and socially. Why work with the muslims here who were downtrodden and (for the most part) aren’t educated when we (the immigrants) can just create MAS, ICNA, ISNA, etc and control that? Not picking on anyone but this is the consistent story I hear from old heads who came over from the nation and even before that.

      With respect to hijrah:

      Consistently, I’ve been told that if you go overseas for deen reasons, you’ll probably get disappointed. If you go for work purposes, then you will no doubt get your intentions fulfilled and will benefit from the abundance of muslims, masaajid, etc.

      I don’t see much of a future here if people don’t start forbidding the evil as well as calling to the good here. The little lady and I have pretty much made intention to move out to either Indonesia or Malaysia as soon as possible inshaAllah (IT market is taking off over there as well as relatively cheap property values being the main reason).

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  6. AnonyMouse

    As someone who HAS made hijrah but remains (or tries to be) keenly aware and concerned about the state of Muslims in the West, I can definitely say that the issue of ‘angry Muslims’ is not one to be solved by hijrah.

    Ironically, the reasons contributing to ‘angry Muslims’ exist here (in Egypt) as well as in America; there are just as many confused non-practicing/ semi-practicing/ trying to practice youth here as there are there (relatively speaking). Politics, economics, and society/culture/media play a huge role everywhere.

    It’s impossible to say what exactly the solution(s) is/are, or at least what the details of it are. The suggestions made in the article are a good start, though.

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  7. shumaila siddiqui

    The Islamic environment and education must have to b provided to Muslims..Most of them are spoiled because of the bad company of their fellows and lack of concentration of their parents towards their grooming.This is happening with the Muslims all over the world but may b in Western or Non-Muslim countries the ratio is much high!!

    If there are not much resources for building Islamic centers for Muslims to provide them Islamic education,” at least parents should perform their role in bringing up their children as true Muslims”.

    May b another reason for all this disturbance among Muslim youth of America is that the American Muslims are a global village made up of diverse communities of African-Americans and immigrants from many nations.So as everyone belongs to a different background ,there thoughts are different from each other.

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  8. Proudly Muslim

    I think the prophet (sws) and the companions were ordered to do hijrah after they had done literally everything they could possibly do and despite that, still were being persecuted by the pagan arabs.

    I think Muslims in America are not even close to reaching that point. We have so much more we can accomplish. Hijrah is unnecessary and pre-mature for us…

    The article was pretty pessimistic – i think the solutions could be outlined a bit better. There are a lot of good Islamic institutions and organizations making a lot of progress on the issues of da’wa, youth, clearing up misconceptions, etc…

    The fact that these Muslims are being accepted and progress is being made is more than enough reason to stay and continue our efforts. Prophet (sws) began his efforts with only a few people.

    Salaam,
    proudly muslim

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  9. shumaila siddiqui

    I don’t think that migration of Muslims living in America will b the solution to the problem.The Muslims living there should learn about Islam and start Da’wah in United States.

    This is an advice to Muslims living all over the world.

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  10. Abdifatah

    Subhan’Allah,

    i knew that the picture looked bad but this is a bit more than i thought. I personally have not experienced any discrimination based on the religion, although i wear kufis more than the average brother. But i guess one of the factors that helps me with not getting that sort of attention is me being a somali (ops) i mean a black male, and most discriminators i’ve heard of tend to be white but that is not always a given.

    I can only offer advise to those fellow youths and help in what i can but since some tend to be in their 20’s there adults so i think one way of combating this is by doing good works. I personally volunteer for masjid, and i want to get into volunteering for a soup kitchen for the homeless.

    Ma’salaam

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  11. Iftikhar Ahmad

    Free Our Schools
    Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

    Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

    The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

    There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

    None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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    • elham

      I agree with everything in your post, except I’m shocked to see this from your website:

      ”Britain should be following the lead set by our European neighbours. The burka is no longer simply the symbol of female repression and Islamic culture, it is now emerging as the preferred disguise of bandits and n’er do wells.”

      How can people think like this? Ever heard of choice…since in the UK people have a right to wear what they choose to, what business is anybodys if a couple of hundred want women to wear a NIQAB (its not called burka) out of millions?.

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      • sebkha

        America has its fair share of bigots too, who cheer on the bigots in Europe who wish to deny human beings their rights to practice their religious beliefs in whatever manner they deem fit.

        It’s all bad, but the hypocrisy really, really irks me. They’ll fight for years to have a Ten Commandments monument in front of a courthouse in the US, but in the same breath assert that Muslim men and women should be banned from wearing the clothing of their choosing. The “let’s ban face coverings because criminals have used them” is especially poignant in the US though. If anyone tries to use the argument that there should be gun control in the US because guns are often used by criminals, right-wingers throw a fit. But some of them will use that same ridiculous argument to assert that face coverings for Muslim women should be banned…because someone might commit a crime whilst wearing one!! Ridiculous.

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      • elham

        I know! But I’m talking about those Muslims who are making use of the current climate to further their own agendas,going against the opinion of the majority of Muslims,who at the moment do not need other Muslims sticking more labels on to them(radical etc) and supporting the government against them. Example Quilliam Foundation.

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      • elham

        *couple of hundred women want to wear*

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  12. Aliyah

    Iftikhar Ahmad, if you think children who attend Islamic schools are better students or more religious than other Muslim students, you are definitely wrong. I’ve taught in both schools. The children are the same.

    This is a good practical piece of writing that addresses a very real concern and will apply to the majority of Muslim parents. Looking forward to reading more comments with ideas for very real solutions.

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    • Iftikhar Ahmad

      Salaam

      london School of Islamics is an educational Trust. Its aim is to make British public, institutions and media aware of the needs and demands of the Muslim community in the field of education and possible solutions.

      Please visit http://www.londonschoolofismaics.org.uk for more information on this crucial and complicated issue.

      We live in a shrunken world and millions of people are on the move; one of our biggest challenges is how we learn to live in proximity to difference – different skin colours, different beliefs and different way of life. According to a study by COMPAS, Muslims born and educated were given the impression of outsiders. The perception among Muslims is that they are unwelcome in Britain is undermining efforts to help them integrate into wider society. Most of them say that they have experienced race discrimination and religious prejudice. Muslims and Islam is promoted a fundamentalist and separatist by the western elite, which have negative impact on community and social cohesion. The number of racist incidents occurring in London Borough of Redbridge’s schools have reached their highest levels since record begin.

      A City or a locality, where Muslims are in majority is a ghetto. There is a tendency for people of similar backgrounds to live together in neighourhoods. The term”ghettoisation” is inappropriate. The original ghettos in Europe during the middle ages were set up by law to confine the Jewish population to one area of a city. According to a research by an Australian academic that Muslim communities in Britain are being increasingly ghettoized in a trend that set back hopes of assimilation by years. Britain has now eight cities in the top 100 most ghettoized cities. The people from the Pakistani community in Bradford and Oldham and Leicester had trebled during the decade. A report by an academic Dr Alan Carling, that Bradford risks becoming a front line in the global clash between the West and Islam. But Islam and Muslims do not clash with the concepts of pluralism, secularism and globalisation. The native flight from Bradford’s inner-city wards showed clear evidence of an increase in segregation in the city since 1991. Native parents are avoiding sending their children in state schools where Muslims and other minorities are in majority. The dominance of Pakistani Muslims in the city has meant that Bradford has become bi-cultural.

      Immigrants are the creators of Britain new wealth, otherwise, inner cities deprived areas could not get new lease of life. The native Brits regard such areas as ghettoes. Integration is not religious and cultural, it is economic and Muslims are well integrated into British society and at the same time they are proud of their Islamic, linguistic and cultural identities, inspite of discrimination they have been facing in all walks of life. According to UN, 80% of British Muslims feel discriminated. They are less burden on social services. Immigrants made up 8.7% of the population, but accounted for10.2% of all collected income tax

      It is often quoted by the Western media that Muslim schools ghettoizse the children, and even lead to their radicalisation if they are not integrated. There is no evidence that faith schools lead to a “ghettoized education system. In British schools, pupils are encouraged to focus too much on their similarities rather than their differences. The integrationist approach merely results in Muslims feeling that their faith, language and culture is not respected.

      A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism. My statement regarding Muslim schools where there is no place for non-Muslim child or a teacher is based on educational process and not on racism. Muslim children need Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. For higher studies and reserech, Muslim teacher is not a priority.
      Iftikhar Ahmad
      http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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  13. sebkha

    Salam Ify.
    I realize they are a small sub-grouping. And I am in full agreement, the last thing I would want to do is “blame” African Americans. Rather, my hope is to seek out the differences between African American Muslims (NOI or otherwise) and non African American Muslims in the hopes of finding out what’s going on there so that we can make it better. The identity issues you raise about 2nd generation children are legitimate, but they are not nearly as poignantly felt here as they are in the case of European Muslims.

    The way I’m seeing it, poverty is a big factor in many Muslims feeling disenfranchised, angry and unhappy. Of course it’s not the only factor, but I still think it’s an important one. The majority of Muslims in the United States are foreign-born. Aside from a few refugees here and there (the United States is notoriously stingy when it comes to granting refugee status), immigration to the US requires quite a bit of financial stability. To sponsor family members’ immigration, one has to maintain an income of at least 125% of the federal poverty standards. There are numerous income proofs a sponsor has to provide to ensure immigrants will not receive social services like welfare and food stamps, etc. Muslim immigration to the US is not where the US is getting their sources of cheap, manual laborers. That leaves native-born Muslims, of which the Pew study says over half are African American. Also in the Pew study–“Fewer native-born African American Muslims than others completely condemn al Qaeda.” –http://pewsocialtrends.org/assets/pdf/muslim-americans.pdf This is on page 7 of the report.

    Additionally, “strong hostility toward al Qaeda varies widely – 63% of foreign-born U.S. Muslims say they have a very unfavorable opinion of al Qaeda, compared with 51% of all native-born Muslims, and just 36%
    of African American Muslims. More generally, native-born African American Muslims are the most disillusioned segment of the U.S. Muslim population. When compared with other Muslims in the U.S., they
    are more skeptical of the view that hard work pays off, and more of them believe that Muslim immigrants in the U.S. should try to remain distinct from society. They also are far less satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. Just 13% of African American Muslims express satisfaction with national
    conditions, compared with 29% of other native-born Muslims,and 45% of Muslim immigrants.” –from the same link above.

    This is but one piece of the puzzle, and it’s a very complicated, intricate matter. But there are definitely some legitimate concerns that seem to exist amongst African American Muslims at a higher rate than other populations that need to be addressed by all Muslims in the US. They are more likely to be impoverished for one, and charitable works amongst Muslims in the US need to take note of this, for one example.

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  14. muslim bro

    Salam,

    speaking for myself and others I know, a lot of the “religious/practicing” young muslim brothers are quite frankly sexually frustrated on college campuses, and they blame the society around them (which they shouldn’t fully, but you can understand the resentment and it is legitimate anger).

    We need undergraduate muslim marriages(coming from a male, single college senior). When young muslim men get married they are far less likely to be ‘angry’ or ‘extreme'(whatever those mean).

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    • Mohammad Sabah

      wa alaykum salam akhi. I completely agree with you – getting married surely alleviates most of these issues viz. anger, extremism, frustration. The Prophet (pbuh) said: Getting married is half of deen. SubhanAllah, marriage makes it easy to lower the gaze and provides a halal channel for indulging in physical pleasure, for both men and for women, and makes staying away from vice easier. Which is why it is recommended Islamically to marry early, ofcourse when the man is financially assured of taking care of the family.

      Muslimah:
      There is no denying that tenderness, maturity and companionship are very important components in a marriage and truly there is more to marriage than sex e.g. responsibilities. But what is also true is that the motivations for marriage for a man and a woman are very different (both for muslims and non-muslims). For a man, the primary motivation for marriage is sex, for a woman the primary motivation is stability and maturity. Blunt as it sounds, it is a fact. Allah subhanahu wa taala did make man and woman different. There is a funny saying that is true too somewhat: “Marriage is the price that a man pays for sex, sex is the price that a woman pays for marriage”. Don’t want to over-analyze your statement here, but just want to point out that ‘let(ting) the hormones do the talking’ in a halal manner viz.marriage is better than taking the wrong path viz. anger, frustration, zina

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      • sebkha

        Um, no. For plenty of men out there, the primary motivation for marriage is because they know it’s half of their deen. While there is nothing wrong with recognizing and promoting the physical benefits of marriage, men and women both achieve aims that go beyond the physical aspects of marriage all of the time. The physical benefits of marriage are fantastic, and there’s no problem at all with those benefits being a factor in motivating men and women both to get married.

        I don’t mean that men should be perfect before they get married. Even really great, sweet, kind and sensitive men mess up sometimes. But they have to recognize the importance of at least trying. Sincerity and effort go a really, really long way for both men and women, and it takes a certain level of knowledge and maturity to be able to provide that for another human being.

        If there are people out there who still think “Marriage is the price that a man pays for sex, sex is the price that a woman pays for marriage” after being married, neither party is doing their job very well.

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      • muslimah

        yeah i agree. That quote is a funny one, if a couple really relate to it, then i think their marriage is not really strong..they are in there just for the sex.

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      • muslimah

        if sex is the primary motivation, then just get married to anyone. Seriously, how can you say ‘let the hormones do the talking’? Will you agree to marry off your 15 yr old? I dont think anyone should get married before 20, guys even later cos generally men dont mature psychologically until they are 23-24, some never grow up lol. According to the hadith, a man should get married when he can afford to. So guys marry when you can afford to look after your wife, financially, psychologically, emotionally.
        p.s- i’m told sex is on a man’s list when he is looking to get married, but it should not be the ONLY thing on that list. You are not only choosing someone to sleep with but you’re also choosing half your eman and the mother of your kids. So ignore the hormones, fast if you cant help it, and marry when you are truly ready to handle the responsibilities.

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      • Mohammad Sabah

        Assalam alaykum.

        I can’t really help it if people don’t read the content more carefully and/or have incorrect assumptions! Anyway, here’s some clarification – most of it is already in my original post:

        1. Regarding the saying, I said it’s a ‘funny’ quote and ‘somewhat true’.
        2. Obviously marrying early does not imply marrying blindly…the implication is in the reader’s minds! So the comment about marrying anyone is plain preposterous – I never suggested it nor is it recommended for obvious reasons!
        3. I had stipulated that Islamically you should marry “ofcourse when the man is financially assured of taking care of the family”.
        4. Nowhere is it stipulated that it is a requirement to marry early – each person has to make up his own mind on when is the right time for him/her. So if you want to wait until you are are at a certain age and assume that once you hit that magic # you are ready…it’s your choice! But having age limits like 20 or 25 or 30 or whatever for maturity…this is just fantasy! No one can say when one is mature enough except himself/herself.

        Also one final comment that some readers have not considered or thought about: people change after marriage – infact they change every day after marriage. The benefits of marriage are too numerous to even list out here. For the benefit of interested readers, I would highly recommend Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s ‘Halal Intimacy’ series for both unmarried and married people. Alhamdulillah it will help change some incorrect assumptions that some people (especially unmarried) develop looking at the whole issue of marriage and sex from the outside and as a result of constant bombardment with incorrect messages from the popular media (internet, tv, books) – but every married person knows the reality is very different. The course blows away a lot of fantasy bubbles masha Allah – may Allah reward Sh. Yasir abundantly and preserve him. Ameen.

        Finally, I reiterate that a healthy marriage does alleviate many of the issues discussed here e.g.anger, frustration, extremism and and is a very effective means that some youth do not take advantage and put off for the wrong reasons e.g. incorrect assumptions, fear of commitment…the list of excuses is never-ending…

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  15. Olivia

    I used to not be Muslim, and during that time of my life I didn’t ruminate much on things like people dying in wars, the FBI tapping my phones or finding a way to sabotage my life, or whether or not I’d be the subject of a hate-crime. I was more or less carefree. Muslim youth are not so carefree. Our religion calls upon us to think beyond our immediate circle of daily life.

    I’d imagine black people went through a lot of the same stress, fear, and anger because they were maligned by greater society for so many years. Society eventually accepted them, but even now they are often the subjects of racism and deal with many issues within their own community because their previous oppression.

    They were more or less successful though, considering the hole they had climb out of, and they certainly couldn’t change their skin-color. America cannot remove the Muslim presence in this country, but Muslims will never be able to totally escape being seen by some as a threat. I think we just need to accept that and learn to live with it to a certain extent. (But that doesn’t mean we allow others to treat us as doormats).

    I think really there needs to be more parent-child connection. Freedom and equality for African Americans was a shared passion in families. For many Muslim students I think they feel lost and floundering because their parents just don’t know what they’re going through so they don’t have a figure to guide them or reinforce their confidence or help them sort out their issues.

    I think there also needs to be some more straightforward talk about issues in general in our community. Muslims have been stepping on eggshells so much that they feel to tackle tough issues and questions head-on, even amongst themselves. Like, how can a parent and child discuss suicide bombing when they’re afraid the house in bugged or some such? The silence is pervasive and I think it’s hurting more than helping. As my husband would say, enough intellectual masturbation. A little more intellectual honesty would be nice.

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  16. Karli

    I found this article very interesting and, as someone who has only been discriminated against for not being faithful, quite enlightening.

    I’m just wondering if anyone can tell me the name of the “focused program” mentioned in the section “The mainstream media must equate Islamophobia with racism” which was described as “[emphasizing] that Muslims are inherently violent, holding them responsible for WWI and WWII, along with recent conflicts.” I’d really like to be able to do some research in to it and my Google searches are turning up nothing.

    Thank-you

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  17. Maiiino

    ASA.

    AstugfirAllah and subhanAllah. I live in NYC and the Muslim youth here are becoming worse every year. I have known many Muslim boys in middle school whom are now into drugs, dating, crime, going to jail, drinking, getting arrested, having children out of fornication, marrying kaffir girls, and all these sinful acts. It is such a shame because none of us know local crimes caused by Muslims, but it is becoming widespread in this city and I do not want others to think Muslims are like this.

    I am sorry if this sounds mean, but it is the truth. Anger is not even the biggest problem. The biggest problem is anger + misguidance + deception.

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    • Umm Nusaybah

      I get what your saying!

      With that equation I would add assimilation issues for some communities like the somali community.

      I cant tell you about the other arab communities or desi or others but for the somali youth I can say a few things about from my opinion and research. The extremist ideologies and behaviors,is not due to lack of secular education or poverty. Its the influential members of their family and masjids.

      I have ran into many brothers and sisters and they all come from middle class, well educated backgrounds and great environments but it seems like any minute now they will up and leave to Somalia or Allah knows where.

      In every Islamic period, the young boys are the defenders and active members of the Islamic societies we have now brought up the kids in this society and they have no option but to take the extremist ideologies, not knowing any better.

      We need a sense of identity and intervention for the youth, the hate and discrimination we see on TV for Islam and the war on terror are to blame. That and the equation Maiino mentioned.

      Anyhow.. this too much to think about in one sitting. Their should be a full blown conference/summit to discuss this problem.

      Wassalam

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  18. Tarek

    amad, why do you post with such rudeness? please, dont be rude. thanks, salaam,

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  19. Saladin

    I think this is a great article. We must engage our youth, encourage them, and empower them. Thank you for illuminating this difficult issue.

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  20. Saad Baradan

    Thank you for posting this much needed article.

    However, at the heart of the issue I am not sure that Islamophobia is the primary problem of the youth. Many of the youth are proud to be Muslim and they find no problem is associating with other Muslim and Non-Muslim youth. MashAllah our youth are becoming doctors, engineers, scholars, etc..

    What seems to be the primary problem of the youth is the massive disconnect between themselves and the leaders or elders of the community. Our elders are for the most part completely ignorant of the daily struggles a youth must go through to practice their deen and stay on the straight path. These struggles include making prayers on time, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and probably most difficult is maintaining ones chastity. Our elders tell us go and become doctors, engineers, pharmacists but they do not worry about the state of our eman. They don’t realize the trials a student in high school or college must go through and so their approach to raising us is quite unrealistic.

    One particular area where many of our elders are in an illusionary state is marriage and the maintenance of one’s chastity. If a youth wishes to get married they must climb Mt. Everest and beyond. First comes the cultural issues, then color issues, and then financial issues. If one is able to get past the first two then being financially stable is always such a big deal. The idea is that you must first become financially stable and then you are able to get married, but Ironically this is not Islamic. Islam teaches us that if we wish to increase our provision then one way to do so is to get married:

    The Qur’an states, ““And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Salihun (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid‑servants (female slaves). If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is All‑Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All‑Knowing (about the state of the people).” (an-Nur 24/32)

    Qurtubi said: “those among you who are single” refers to those who have no spouse, men and women…“If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty” means: do not refrain from getting married because the man or the woman is poor. If they are poor, Allah will make them independent of means by His bounty. This is a promise of independence of means to those who get married, seeking the pleasure of Allah and seeking to protect themselves from sin.

    And finally Umar bin Khatab (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “I am surprised by those who do not seek independence of means through marriage, when Allah has said, “If they be poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty.”

    Clearly the Qur’an and the righteous of the past advocate getting married no matter how poor an individual maybe. Now I do realize that one must be realistic and I think many of our youth are. They excel in high school and college and many have part time jobs. So why not let them get married? If they find someone, then marry them and they do not necessarily have to move out and do the whole nine yards. They can continue living with their families and when the time is right for both parties to move out, then they will do so. At least this way the youth can be in halal relationships and have the ability to practice their deen in a more proper manner. Am I daydreaming? Please tell me!!!!

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  21. Amad

    interestingly this comment of yours that goes against our “belief” that we don’t censor is still here.

    It is funny when people make such comments when there is a wildly rampant evidence to the contrary.

    anyway, some people will see what they want to see.

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