Growing Up Muslim: Muslim College Students in America Tell Their Life Stories
This book focuses on the struggles of 14 Dartmouth College students of the Muslim faith to understand and practice their religious and cultural traditions in an American context. The editors worked for a number of years with the students—eight men and six women who are immigrants or children of immigrants—who expressed themselves in autobiographical essays. They began their personal searches within families with mostly conservative roots in Africa, the Middle East or Southwest Asia, and most sought a balance between spiritual values and ritualized customs. Sharing the trials of other us teenagers as they strove for independence and self-esteem, their efforts were sometimes complicated by anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11. In addition, some of the women had to weigh education and careers against pressures for early or arranged marriages. The essays suggest that amid the diversity of American faiths and cultures, many of the students came to see their own faith as simply a different path toward similar destinations—most importantly the blessings of a loving and supportive community. The book is timely in light of the recent tragic events in Paris, and it suggests there may be major differences between the capabilities of host and immigrant to blend and bind in Europe and the US.