It’s not easy being a young Muslim in the United States today

It's not easy being a young Muslim today

Islamophobia is the acceptable racism of our time. 

It enters the school environment through the media and manifests itself as teacher discrimination and student bullying. 

As a result, Muslim students feel marginalized, disempowered, and begin to internalize negative stereotypes about themselves.

Nationally

  • In the wake of the current Islamophobic environment, there has been a 660% uptick in Muslims -- predominantly teenagers – seeking help with school bullying, depression, substance abuse, and other issues, according to the nonprofit group Crisis Text Line (CNN)
  • 75% say they or someone they know have been discriminated against (Zogby Poll)

In New York public schools

  • 28% of Muslim students report being stopped by police as a result of racial profiling (Columbia University study)
  • Seven percent said they have been physically assaulted (Columbia)

In California public schools 9th to 12th grade students

  • 64% of the American Muslim students surveyed experienced bullying. This is twice as high as the national statistics of students reporting being bullied at school
  • 28% experienced discrimination by a teacher or an administrator
  • Among the girls who wear Hijab, or headscarf, 29 percent experienced “offensive touching or pulling” of the Hijab

How young Muslims are responding to Islamophobia

  • 26% of Muslim youth in the United States reported feeling angry, as compared to 14% of Protestant youth (Gallup Poll)
  • This survey had 10 questions on mental health and almost all of the results revealed that young Muslims were the least happy and the most angry, as compared to youth of other faith communities (Gallup Poll)
  • Muslim youth are also the least employed, as compared to any other faith community in the United States (Gallup Poll)
  • 29% of youth sometimes use a non-Muslim sounding name (Columbia University study)
  • 47% college-going young Muslims in the USA drink alcohol (Institute  for Social Policy Understanding)
  • 16% Muslim youth binge drink (Gallup Poll)
  • 26% Muslim youth say suicide bombing of civilian targets to defend Islam is justified (Pew Research Center)

Ninety-nine percent of Muslim children attend public schools

Almost 99 percent of Muslim children attend public schools. Only one percent attend an Islamic day school. About four percent attend some form of additional Islamic education, like weekend schools, which are mostly limited to 40 hours of instruction per year. Therefore, the place where almost all Muslim youth are found are in American schools, colleges, and universities.

Urgent rethinking needed to help Muslim Youth

Parents, Masjids, and Islamic organizations need to think, pray, and plan to create a movement to help Muslim youth now! We must urgently develop programs and devise strategies that focus on engaging young Muslims positively.

The mainstream media must equate Islamophobia with racism

Considering that most youth consume media over 50 hours a week, it is critical that responsible media discuss the challenges of Islamophobia and demonization of Muslims in American society. We cannot have healthy children unless we improve the environment we are raising our children in.

The Muslim community must reallocate its resources for youth development

The Muslim community in the United States is a strong and self-reliant community. It is pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars every year in Islamic education. However, most of these funds are going into Islamic schools. This author is personally committed to Muslim schools. However, these institutions educate less than one percent of Muslim students. The above-described challenge requires our community to reallocate a substantial amount of its resources to reaching out to its youth in public schools and campuses for supplemental education, scouting, moral support, and counseling.

SCHOOLS should ensure that teachers receive training on how to prevent bullying and harassment in their classrooms. 

CONGRESS must pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act (“SSIA”).

CONGRESS should amend the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Currently, Title VI does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion.

Sound Vision is giving this challenge its top priority, allocating almost all of its resources to youth development

Excerpts on the crisis

"The human face of this pressure from Islamophobia can be found in cases like that of a Muslim girl featured on the NPR program “This American Life.” The show detailed how she went from being a well-adjusted student to a pariah mocked by both fellow students and teachers for her faith. As a result, she wanted to leave Islam. The crisis also resulted in her parents splitting up." Listen to the report here.

“To be a Muslim in America now is to endure slings and arrows against your faith—not just in the schoolyard and the office but also outside your place of worship and in the public square, where some of the country's most powerful mainstream religious and political leaders unthinkingly (or worse, deliberately) conflate Islam with terrorism and savagery.” - Time Magazine's cover story (Aug. 30, 2010 issue): "Is America Islamophobic?"

Why Work with us

As a pioneer producer for young Muslims like Adam’s World, nasheeds, MuslimFest, we have always been connected with young Muslims. That is where our motto 'Helping Tomorrow’s Muslims Today', comes from. Young people actually run Sound Vision along with 300 plus volunteers under or in their 20s. Sound Vision has produced thousands of tips for Imams, teachers, and parents on how to creatively engage Muslim youth.

We feel it is an extremely serious crisis situation. Some youth are developing self-hate, some are being radicalized to the level that 400 have tried to join ISIS, while others are have succumb to drug abuse. Some youth are actually leaving Islam all together. What will be the future Ummah left with if half of them actually admit drinking and committing Haram sex, and only less than 5% are able to attend Friday prayers.

We are sounding this alarm purposefully. We invite Imams, masjids, parents and teachers to give the highest priority in terms of planning and funding to engage 99% of Muslim youth who are in public schools. 

Sound Vision with its full time professional team and a respectable board is the world leader in developing resources for Muslim youth in the English language.

Sound Vision is a tax-deductible 501 (C) 3 organization and is Zakat-eligible.

Success through collaboration!

Please join Sound Vision as a partner in creating a movement to keep young Muslims Muslim and our neighbors friend.

We offer Sunday school teachers training, a step by step masjid guide to creatively engage youth, career guiding workshops, and internships. We can even facilitate a thinking retreat for your community to think through their plans for engaging Muslim youth.

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*References to  these statistics are available at SoundVision.com/MuslimYouthStatistics 

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