Meeting the Needs of Muslim Youth: Getting Race Right

Getting Race Right report cover

Meeting the Needs of Muslim Youth: Getting Race Right

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?

The United States' several million Muslims are the most racially, culturally, and ethnically diverse group in the country. According to Gallup, more than one-third of American Muslims are African American. Unfortunately, African American Muslims face intra-Muslim racism from other immigrant Muslim communities, namely South Asians and Arabs. Existing research on intra-Muslim racism is limited. MuslimARC released their preliminary study of race relations in June 2015. Based on this research and anecdotally, many African American Muslims—including youth—constantly face ethnic and racial discrimination from within the American Muslim community. Addressing intra-Muslim racism is critical for African American youth from a positive development standpoint, namely forming a healthy and well-integrated identity, as well as improving overall youth resiliency. This set of discussions focused on creating inclusive environments for African American Muslim youth at South Asian and Arab American mosques.

This report is part of ISPU’s American Muslim youth series. Any American born between 1990 and 2000 probably doesn'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. For American Muslims, membership in this generation presents additional challenges, in addition to those faced by other young Americans: from drug and alcohol abuse to racism and a crisis of religious literacy. ISPU's American Muslim youth series series addresses some of these challenges and offers actionable recommendations for parents, community leaders, and national organizations.

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