First Generation Muslim American

A causal-comparative study was done to explore  the acculturation and its effects on the psychodynamics of first generation Arab-American Muslim women born and raised in the United States. These first generation women what seemed to be torn between the Old World customs of their parents and modern American traditions.  These women faced a major identity challenge in trying to balance their two worlds. The premise of this study was that Arab Muslim mothers’ levels of acculturation will affect the levels of acculturation of their first generation Arab-American Muslim daughters. It was also expected that the level of maternal cultural identification would affect the acculturation level of the first generation Arab-American Muslim daughter. Finally, it is anticipated that the first generation Arab-American Muslim daughter’s level of acculturation would affect her attachment level to her immigrant Arab Muslim mother.   The findings appeared to support the hypothesis that the level of acculturation of the immigrant Arab Muslim mother is positively correlated with the level of acculturation of her first generation Arab-American Muslim daughter. A second hypothesis that the level of maternal cultural identification would affect the acculturation level of her first generation Arab-American Muslim daughter was not supported. Also, results did not support the third hypothesis that the acculturation level of first generation Arab-American Muslim daughters would affect her attachment level with her immigrant Arab Muslim mother. So in the conclusion of this study, first generation daughters alike will have greater insight into their own psychodynamics to aid in both their identity formation and their appreciation for their cultural differences.  

Although there is the view that the first and second generations of immigrants will be the ones living a better life, there are views that these generations of Muslims are more likely to be swayed into the radical terrorist organizations.  The latest instance of the second-generation terrorist syndrome played out in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend when Omar Mateen, son of immigrants from Afghanistan, went on a jihad-inspired rampage, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.  Authorities claimed that Mateen had played with the idea of  other terrorist groups, but declared his allegiance to the Islamic State on the morning he started his killing spree.  There are many other’s who have fallen into the same path as Mateen such as: one of the San Bernardino, California terrorists who was the son of Pakistanis; Nadir Soofi, one of two men who attacked a drawing competition in Garland, Texas, last year and whose father was from Pakistan; and then-Maj. Nidal Hassan, the child of Palestinian immigrants whose shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 set off the modern round of deadly lone-wolf attacks.  “Historically, the ‘high stress’ generation for American immigrants has been second generation,” said former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. “Mom and Pop can rely on the culture of where they came from. Their grandchildren will be (more or less) thoroughly American. The generation in between, though, is anchored neither in the old or in the new. They often are searching for self or identity beyond self.”

Then there are those who pull away from the faith that their parents believe in.  For those making the choice to depart from their parents’ faith, the decision can be traumatic and hugely disruptive to the family.  In some cases it has even torn families apart.  Kamran, a first generation Afghan-American, is religious but sometimes pushes the boundaries of Muslim practices by participating in things like drinking and dating.  All activities that are looked down upon in the Muslim community.   Another point of view is that of Tasneem, a first generation South Asian-American, who grew up deeply religious, but now struggles to find her place in the Muslim community. Zahra Noorbakhsh, a first generation Iranian-American, expresses herself by performing a one woman show about finding her own brand of liberal, secular Islam.

Age and gender distribution of Muslims in the United States

  • Age 18 – 29: 29%
  • Age 30 – 49: 48%
  • Age 50 – 64: 18%
  • Age 65: + /  5%
  • Male: 54%
  • Female: 46%

Level of Education / Muslims / General Public

  • Graduate Study / 10% / 9%
  • College Graduate / 14% / 16%
  • Some College / 23% / 29%
  • High School Diploma /32% / 30%
  • No High School Diploma / 21% / 16%

Annual Household Income / Muslims / General Public

  • $100,000 / 16% / 17%
  • $75,000 – $95,000 / 10% / 11%
  • $50,000 – $74,999 / 15% / 16%
  • $30,000 – $49,999 / 24% / 23%
  • Less than $30,000 / 35% / 33%

http://www.universal-publishers.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1581123590

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/13/second-generation-americans-proving-most-fruitful-/

http://www.wnyc.org/story/muslim-americans/

https://iraq.usembassy.gov/resources/information/current/american/statistical.html

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