MPAC Releases Special
Report on Muslim American Youth
Washington, DC: Muslim American
youth must be engaged directly rather than being discussed
in a vacuum, Muslim Public Affairs Council Executive Director
Salam Al-Marayati said June 7 during a forum in Washington,
DC to announce the findings of a special report on Muslim
American youth and identity formation post-9/11.
Entitled "The Impact of 9/11 on Muslim American Young
People: Forming National and Religious Identity in the Age
of Terrorism and Islamophobia", the special report
provides analysis of key issues of identity, social and
political alienation, the definition of moderate, and Islamophobia
as root causes of radicalization. It also provides specific
recommendations to government officials, media professionals
and universities to bolster integration and prevent radicalization
of Muslim American youth.
"The report is the first substantive Muslim American
policy position paper addressing radicalization in an effort
to prevent this phenomenon from taking root on US soil,"
MPAC Government Director Relations Director Safiya Ghori
Click here to download a pdf file of "The Impact of
9/11 on Muslim American Young People".
Interfaith Alliance Vice President Suzie Armstrong cited
the need for dialogue as a tool to change people's thinking
from viewing our nation as being rooted in multiculturalism
to pluralism. She cited a passage from the paper, which
notes that multiculturalism assumes that a majority population
is "making room" for minority communities, while
a pluralistic paradigm inherently holds different segments
as being equal parts of a larger whole.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) shared the following statement
about the paper:
"We share an interest in tapping into the enormous
potential of the American Muslim community, and working
with that community to better understand the challenges
we are confronting around the world. I look forward to reading
the report you are issuing today and hope that it will provide
valuable insights into the steps that we need to take to
rid our world of radicalization and extremism. I strongly
believe that the American Muslim community is a big part
of the solution, and that engaging Muslim youth in our nation
in this effort is most vital. By sharing insights and strengthening
voices of tolerance, we can find common ground in our own
communities and strengthen efforts to protect our country
from the threats we face at home and abroad. Congratulations
again on your work."
Al-Marayati cited three major problems faced when tackling
the question of Muslim American youth, as described in the
report: 1) the failure of public officials and media commentators
to talk to youth, preferring instead to talk about them,
2) the failure to distinguish between anti-establishment
ideologies and criminal intent when considering rhetoric
on college campuses, and 3) the failure to engage with Muslim
Americans at all levels of decision making and to publicize
that relationship to the Muslim community and the American
public at large.
"If the ground is rotten, then radical violent ideologies
can seep in more easily. If the ground is healthy, then
a vibrant and robust sense of self can take hold and mature,"
Al-Marayati said. "As they find themselves wedged between
daily reports of terrorism and extremism on the one hand
and Islamophobia and intolerance on the other, Muslim American
youth's individual and collective identity evolves continuously.
We in the public and private sectors share an obligation
to ensure that fertile soil exists where young Muslim Americans
can grow up feeling accepted and productive."
Major recommendations outlined in the report include:
• Develop a support infrastructure for Muslim students
in US college campuses, including an institutionally supported
Muslim religious advisor funded, staffed and certified by
the university to ensure the applicability of the chaplain's
contributions are germaine to each campus.
• Create a US government inter-agency Muslim American
Youth Advisory Board of student leaders and young professionals.
• Publicize the engagement with Muslim American community
leaders to assure the American public of the close partnership
between the Muslim American community and its governmental
• Deter Islamophobia in the media through seminars
for anchors and producers to be introduced to authentic
approaches to conversations about extremism and violence
among Muslims to better engage an Muslim American perspective,
and introduce broad scale ad campaigns showing the value
of diversity and pluralism).
Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an
American institution which informs and shapes public opinion
and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision
makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC
is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose
of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim