A Salute to Young Muslim Americans

Category: Americas, Life & Society Topics: American Muslims Values: Education Views: 12306

Nabeeha's assignment for her High School art class

Anti-Islam propaganda is on the rise in the U.S. Preachers have their pitch against Islam and many academicians have also joined their chorus. Politicians have their own ambiguity in tackling the issue.

Despite the claim that the law enforcement agencies are acting on behalf of the victims of hate crimes and speeches, the recent arrest of two teen age girls in New York and their subsequent release have raised serious questions about the credibility of these institutions in handling terrorism related issues. Moreover, the meetings of high government officials with some Muslim groups have failed to restore the confidence of the community on those who are supposed to defend the civil liberties of Americans.

Apparently, there is gloom and despair within the Muslim community. Would America remain a safe place for Muslims? Many ask. Would the community be able to restore its injured dignity after the Sept. 11 and subsequent events?

Muslims in America and all over the world are faced with two major crises. On the one hand, they and their religion are being blamed for the Sept. 11 events with the assertion that Islam cannot be trusted. While on the other, those Muslims who use violence to express their political will are hurting Muslims physically.

Not knowing how to respond to the situation, many Muslims seem to have resigned to their fate, unclear about what is next.

The Muslim leadership in the U.S. and elsewhere is still engaged in rhetoric's or in organizing programs that have little meaning outside the Muslim community. Generally Muslims do not have much confidence their leadership.

Organized Muslim work has resulted only in the glorification of a few while the community at large remains powerless and voiceless.

Above all, there are efforts from outsiders to change Islam to suit their agenda. Billions of dollars have been spent to change the face of Islam and the Muslim community. Confusion and chaos are the norms and crisis seems to be increasing its sphere of influence.

As desperate as the present situation may appear to be, the future is not as bleak as one would imagine it to be on the basis of certain invisible realities.

Disappointed by multimillion dollar organizations' performance, the community has begun to take its affairs in its own hand at the grass roots levels. These sporadic efforts offer a ray of hope in the midst of confusion and chaos that prevail all around us.

After Sept. 11, Muslim grass roots efforts have mushroomed around the country to develop a serious and meaningful understanding of Islam and its role in the society. Those who are leading these efforts are none other than those who often find themselves strangers in their mosques and institutions. Many of these are the young Muslim American.

All over the country, young boys and girls have taken it upon themselves to organize local Islamic study circles where they meet every week to reflect on their plight and infuse new ideas of change.

The barriers of ethnicity and race are being brought down by those who have developed a race and culture-free understanding of Islam. Young high school and college students are making determined efforts to disseminate an understanding of Islam that defies all stereotypes. A real dialogue is taking place in high schools and college campuses all over the country. Universities have had a long tradition of activities organized by the MSA's (Muslim Student Association). But the new kids on the block are MSA's of high schools all across the country.

In Wisconsin, Nevada and in California, as in many other places, high school Muslim students have assumed the role of the defenders of their faith. Each week in several high school campuses, Muslim boys and girls host meetings open to non-Muslims challenging the stereotypes.

Recently, in California, Muslim high school students organized several events to present understanding of Islam to their fellow non-Muslim students.

In a school in Southern California, they recently organized an interfaith dialogue on Jesus. In another campus they hosted a forum on justice. Yet, in another campus, they led the discussion on morality and politics. On another campus they organized a discussion on what is common between Jews and Muslims. The list goes on ... These campus groups are organizing forums with little resources. However, these are the efforts that are likely to present the Muslim community with the biggest benefit it can reap in the future.

Fully aware of the dynamics of social change, these young students realize that unless they communicate to their generation the understanding of their faith, things will not change. Through their efforts, these young boys and girls have brought several non-Muslims within the organizational folds of their groups. In many high school and college campuses, they have won the respect and admiration of their fellow students.

Islam is being recognized as a positive force in bringing about a meaningful change in the behavior and attitude of young people.

In a high school campus in Las Vegas, a young high student persuaded her principal to allow her to bring a speaker to talk about Islam to all the students. With a marathon session on Islam in various classes, the young girl was instrumental in breaking the stereotypes and clarifying misunderstandings among many. She now has a sympathetic student body to pay attention to what she says about Islam.

In a high school campus in California, two Muslim girls mobilized the entire school to organize a fund raising drive for the Tsunami disaster victims. Their school became the first one to take a lead on the issue.

Regardless of the civil rights abuses, and the anti-Islamic propaganda, the young Muslims of America are changing the intellectual landscape of their country. In less than a decade, their efforts will pave the way for a dynamic and active Muslim community with its imprints in all walks of American lives. Their moral values are being taken seriously, their culture is being accepted and above all their faith is gaining respect among younger America.

These indeed are the efforts that are being organized without any glamour or fanfare of major fund raisers. While the older Muslim America is engaged in rhetoric or in apathy, the young Muslim America is working silently to shape the future for a dignified existence. What they are doing is worth emulating. They are free from prejudices and racism. They are pure and innocent like their religion wants them to be, and they seem to be determined to move on.

A few years ago they were invisible. But now they are active and visible. They may still be small in numbers, yet they have a built-in tenacity to fight off all the challenges. A crisis is an opportunity for them. They offer the hope for the future. It is time that we salute these unknown and uncelebrated leaders of our community who do things because they believe in their values and in themselves.

The author is the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada, and editor-in-Chief of the Muslim Observer as well as the director of the Muslim Electorates' council of America.

  Category: Americas, Life & Society
  Topics: American Muslims  Values: Education
Views: 12306

Related Suggestions

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Older Comments:
God bless these nobles souls.

They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.


ZT FROM N.Y.C said:
Mashallah may you and your family live in peace, i hope any others canvert to islam to show how respectful and nice we are and theres is NO GOD but ALLAH
Thank you your sister

The aricle is timely and an eye -opener to Muslim workers not only in USA but in all countries where Muslims are in Minority.This highlights three things,:
1Islam should be known by others by action of Muslims & not by propaganda.
2 Action of Islam in cleansing society and bringing peace and understanding among all people should be done in cooperation with people of all faiths who also believe & aspire for the same cause.
3 Activities should be carried out at grass-roots level on small scale without aiming at big budgets.Costs will have to be shared.The sytem should become wide spread & self financing as in the case of Tabligh.
May Allah reward the young American Muslims who have blazed a new & pragmatic path to bringlight around where we live.May Allah reward also the brother who gathered information reported this case study so lucidly.Ameen.

Asalaam alaikum ya'll As i read this article tears came to my eyes, this is the attitude we all must have here in order reach the people of this country with the message of Islam. May Allah reward these kids for their work and their ideas and may he light a fire under the rest of us to do the same Ameen

Well "big guy" you are quite a comedian. I dont give a damn what a trailer park throwback to the 1800s thinks about Islam or Muslims. But be warned, making childish threats is unimpressive and perhaps iviews can log your IP address and inform the proper authorities. Kepp your retarded fantasies to yourself. Islam is a universal religion, and no demented redneck can do a damn thing about it.

Assalamou ailaikoum sister "thejellymill", may Allah Soubhana wa Ta'ala preserve you and yours, too, and all the Mouslimine. I pray that you do not think of my indiscrete remark as blame in any way, our duty is to correct each other. Insha Allah I will make a du'a for your noble endeavor

Big Guy how big are you? You mean to be obese and beer-bellied? You mean to be extremely tall? Because, definitely, "Big Guy" does not refer to either your characteror or intellect(which both you lack). Your crass ignorance of common general information is entertaining. You greatly amused me, Mr Big Guy! You could be a comediant, try to contact the Blue collar comedy dudes and crack some redneck jokes on national TV. Just listen to the humour you display:"The Statue of Liberty in a burka is not what this country stands for either." Wow, could you tell us, please, what this country stands for, since it seems you know very well what it doesn't stand for! Maybe your idea is the statue of liberty with an M16 assault rifle in her hand? Like saying, "You either do what I tell you to or die!" That's liberty! Oh yeah, Big Guy's style!
You continue with your farce:"When this country truly awakens from it's trance and recognizes the Muslim .. column in our midst, then we'll see if young American Muslims are saluted." Are you going to discriminate against your own? You said,"then we'll see if young American Muslims are saluted." Wow, that's intense, who did it in the history? Ah, yes of course, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Sadam, etc. Are you also a member of the notorious KKK? If not, hurry they are recruiting and they have great difficulties in getting new members. I guess the majority of the American people are homo sapiens, and the troglodites are quite a minority.
This really puzzled me,"They'll be graciously and gently returned to the lands of Islam where they belong" The lands of Islam? One of the lands of Islam is planet earth, since the whole universe is the realm of Islam. Big Guy, we are already here, multiplying and spreading. And how exactly are you going to do that to millions of American Muslims? Do you have a plan? You would make papa Hitler and uncle Mussolini very proud! Where exactly would this exodus of English speaking American Muslims fit in M.E.?

Let me give you a hint, Big Guy. If you really want a resettlement program to work, you need to make the "target population" think it was their idea.

Incidentally, Hitler's quest for ethnic purity was precisely the reason he didn't have a nuclear option to exercise. It certainly sounds reasonable enough to me.

Also, I think it's in bad taste to threaten children. For one thing it seems that only children tend to get away with it.

The Statue of Liberty in a burka is not what this country stands for either.

When this country truly awakens from it's trance and recognizes the Muslim .. column in our midst, then we'll see if young American Muslims are saluted. Let me give you a hint, they won't be. They'll be graciously and gently returned to the lands of Islam where they belong.

Brother najjar,
as-salaam walaikum

i am a sister.
and JazzakAllah khair for pointing out the fault of my last comment. Astaghfirullah, I didn't even think about it before posting it. I apologize to all those that read it and were offended. I agree, I was wrong.

May Allah preserve you, Ameen.

Assalamou Alaikoum
While this article is very encouraging and rightly praising the noble effort of Muslim students, I find it unnecessary to denigrate others, Encouraging and praising someone at the expense of others is not really what we can call Islamic attitude, we may just be defeating the whole purpose. Withering this way, may be germinating nothing else but fitna between generations, a thing that is so far unknown to the Muslim community.

Brother or sister thejellymill (sorry gendre unknown), sarcasm is definitely not Islamic at all. Please re-read your own 3rd paragraph, you will certainly find fitna there, and I don't mean the word itself. I was an active Muslim student just like you only 3 years ago, I learned from others, good things, and observed their shortcomings, which I probably have more than "them", that just increased my respect for my elders.
With due respect to all.

I love to article. I am happy to know about this and how Islam bloom beautifully in america. May they and you get the Rewards from Allah Swt. Insya Allah

I'd rather go around and teach the .. Americans about theri own foreign policies than teach them about Islam.

9/11 = evil American foreign policies, no buts or ifs... If it is hard for you (Americans) to swallow what I just said then that's too bad...

Masha'Allah, great article! So true Masha'Allah. Our community here in the capital of IL is quite small since the town is quite small to begin with.
It's difficult to get things going due to divisions and disagreements but we manage some things Alhamdulillah and are making slow progress. Most of the youth here in town are also too involved with themselves and their "american" friends to help but in the neighboring town of champaign-urbana, they have quite a good MSA filled with all the high school and college age Muslims that were born either here in the US or came here when they were young and have spent most of their lives here.
They even organized their own spring camp last month that some of us here in this town attended. It was VERY well organized Masha'Allah and nothing like the "FITNA" (aka ISNA - islamic society of north america) conventions. lol

Masha'Allah. May Allah help us to do more in our own community here in the capital of IL and to spread the deen all over the western world and strengthen and improve the knowledge of those back home, AMEEN.

P.S. I am currently high on the idea of MSA and Islam...maybe coz it's Friday, i dunno. Jumu'ah Mubarak! ;o)

I, myself take part in an MSA group at my school, and I believe that these core groups are a healthful tool for your iman, yet we need more support. Events cannot be made possible without the help of local masjids and community leaders,and adults around the community. Many young Muslims use these community groups such as MSA and YMFA as outlets for the creative intellectual Muslim that lies in their heart and not always able to represent in todays distorted society. This article displays the accurate importance of these community groups.

A convert to Islam brings an enthusiasm that cannot be matched by people born into it. It would be unreasonable to expect those already to conform to ideals which one sets out for himself. IT is ofcourse an admirable and brave step but one can only take steps for himself.

Jazak Allahu khair for the living testimony of young Muslim Americans - and jazak Allah khair for the article.

This is wonderful news to hear.

I'm equally delighted that the youth are in the vanguard of this development. I have dream of when efforts towards these activites will be multiplied ten fold in the US and the dream it seems is coming to pass. Alamdu lillah. American muslims both young and old should never waver, as greater challenges are comng your way. And the important thing is that you must face these challeges squarely, and in sha-Allah victory will come your way. But remember to always do His will for ...Innallaha ma'a l muttaqin.


As it's known, Islam is a complete way of life for eternal bliss. May the Almighty Allah give you(inluding other believers in Islam); the wisdom, might, means etc to be good Ambassador of Islam. I pray and wish you'll continue in the spread of the vitures of Islam. Also praying that the Blessings, Wisdom & Mercy of Allah be with you and may your reward be Al-Janna firdous.

As it's known, Islam is a complete way of life for eternal bliss. May the Almighty Allah give you(inluding other believers in Islam); the wisdom, might, means etc to be good Ambassador of Islam. I pray and wish you'll continue in the spread of the vitures of Islam. Also praying that the Blessings, Wisdom & Mercy of Allah be with you and may your reward be Al-Janna firdous.

Alhamdu Lillah!

Awesome article! Like a pat on the back, lol. Well, I should probably be more humble than this but yeah, I helped organized an Islam Awareness forum series in Lake Oswego High School, Oregon only this year. I don't know what kept me from doing it earlier, but then just something burned inside and hadda let out and it did. Too bad my school has only like 5 Muslims around, but the greater Portland Muslim Community is strong and very supportive.

Yeah, I do think that what we do is essential and needed. If somebody makes outlandish false accusations of Islam, he/she is NOT completely wrong. It is our job to better inform and contact these persons and build and earn a respect and dignity for our faith that was largely missing.

Yet, I am not the best example since many other Muslim brothers and sisters have started much earlier than me in Portland, California, New York. Their stories I believe have encouraged me to try the same in my school, and it worked! Even my parents were surprised I was doing it, with barely any contacts to begin with. I just immigrated here 6 years ago. Well anyways, I have what 800 characters left, better quit blabbering my fingers off and get back to work, and prayer.

Jazak Allahu Khair
Aleykum Salam,