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? According to Ta’leef Collective, over 20,000 Americans convert to Islam annually. But, many new converts leave Islam in the first two years after conversion. In this series of small group discussions, participants discussed the challenges faced...

  • 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....

  • How do we keep American Muslim youth safe online? How do we nurture positive online engagement? Technology is a major part of our lives today. Teenagers in particular spend a great deal of time online. According to Common Sense Media, teenagers average about 50 hours...

  • What basic knowledge and literacy gaps about Islam are important to fill for American Muslim youth and what resources already exist? In the United States, children live in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic environment, and need to be, “equipped with an understanding of various religions”...

  • What can American Muslim communities do to prevent and treat drug use among American Muslim Youth? Primary research on American Muslim youth substance use and addiction is limited. However, existing research indicates that young American Muslims use and experiment with intoxicating substances, and tend toward...

Related ISPU Reports

  • American Muslim youth are a heterogeneous group, with varying backgrounds, experiences, and needs. Families, schools, and communities can benefit from research on American Muslim youth to improve current approaches in youth programming and development. This report identifies the nuances and complexities of American Muslim youth’s...

  • Despite the growing number of American Muslims in the United States, their frequent encounters with prejudice and their increased self-reports of emotional stress, little research has been carried out to understand attitudes toward mental health by Muslim Americans, specifically those born and raised in the...

  • While bullying is on the rise in American schools, the reasons why Muslim children are being bullied vary: the American mainstream’s limited knowledge, pervasive misperceptions, and negative stereotypes about Muslims. Little is known about Islam and Muslims, and little is being done to redress this...

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