Youth

Meeting the Needs of Generation 9/11

ISPU’s Generation 9/11 Series

A group photo of the scholars who participated in the Generation 9/11 Youth ConveningAny American born between 1990 and 2000 probably doesn’t remember a world without smartphones, Facebook and Game of Thrones. They also likely don’t recall a time when people kept their shoes on at airport security, could go all the way to the gate to see their friends off, or thought “Patriot Act” was just a good deed. Today’s 15 to 25 year olds don’t know an America before the horrific events of September 2001. They are “Generation 9/11.”

For American Muslims, membership in this generation presents additional challenges. Their religious community, according to polls, is among the least warmly regarded of any in the country and their country’s news media portrays their faith and community negatively 80% of the time. They face bullying, racial profiling and job discrimination.

Moreover, they face the same challenges of growing up as any other American, from drug and alcohol abuse to online safety to risky sexual experiences. And like other Americans, their community also struggles with racism and a crisis of religious literacy. At the same time, American mosques leaders, like their counterparts in other faiths, are finding it difficult to meet the unique needs of young people.

ISPU’s “Meeting the Needs of Generation 9/11” brief series addresses some of these challenges and offers actionable recommendations for parents, community leaders and national organizations. Each brief can stand on its own or be used as part of the series for a comprehensive approach to tackling the hurdles faced by today’s youth and young adults. We brought together practitioners and academics, Imams and parents, local leaders and national figures, grandparents and college students to craft practical recommendations that could be applied in a variety of contexts.

Though we set out to address a number of pressing topics, we make no claim that our series is exhaustive. There are important topics that we have not covered but hope to tackle in the future. These include off line bullying and the unique needs of refugee Muslim youth as examples.

We hope these briefs help you meet the needs of this unique generation of American Muslims. We welcome your thoughts and questions.

American Muslim Youth Convening Report Series

  • How Can We Provide Better Support to Convert Youth?

  • How can predominately South Asian and Arab American mosques promote a greater understanding of race and civil rights, and create inclusive environments for African American Muslim youth?  

  • How do we keep American Muslim youth safe online? How do we nurture positive online engagement?

  • What basic knowledge and literacy gaps about Islam are important to fill for American Muslim youth and what resources already exist?

  • What can American Muslim communities do to prevent and treat drug use among American Muslim Youth?

Related ISPU Reports

Related Resources & Articles

  • Tackling Technology Tactfully BY HABEEB QUADRI The Internet has opened up the world and connected people like nothing else. However, along with its socioeconomic benefits have come some grave detriments to its youngest of users, the children. In the last 25 years, as an educator,...

  • “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.” – Muhammad Ali, 1975   American Muslims are the most diverse...

  • Do Muslim communities provide safe spaces for youth who are asking difficult and controversial questions? Although Muslims comprise an estimated one percent of this country’s population, they have occupied a far greater percentage of recent political debates, now that the presidential campaign season is in...

  • “Mom, who is that man?” Zaynab, my 5-year-old daughter asks, inevitably both fascinated and a bit frightened every time we’re at a stoplight and a beggar approaches our car. “That man has no home or food. He wants us to help him.” The beggar at...

  • Another school year is in full swing. Frat houses around the country are once again swollen with partygoers and intoxicated youth. Sunday mornings once again mark the regret of thousands of young women who hooked-up the night prior and either cannot remember what they did,...

  • On the eve of Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims, two major debates around Muslims rights are taking place in New York City. One about the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”, the other over whether to include Muslim holidays, including the post-Ramadan celebration, Eid-ul-Fitr, in the...