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Young American Muslims

Dynamics of Identity

Nahid Afrose Kabir

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An examination of the identity of young Muslims in America

This book presents a journey into the ideas, outlooks and identity of young Muslims in America today. Based on around 400 in-depth interviews with young Muslims from Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Virginia, all the richness and nuance of these minority voices can be heard.

Many young Americans cherish an American dream, ‘that all men are created equal’. And the election of America’s first black President in 2008 has shown that America has moved forward. Yet since 9/11 Muslim Americans have faced renewed challenges, with their loyalty and sense of belonging being questioned.

Key features

  • Investigates the identity of ethnic and racial groups such as Iranians, Arab Americans and African Americans
  • Discusses the impact of the American media on young Muslims
  • Introduces debates on the Israeli-Palestine issue
  • Analyses President Obama as a national and world leader


List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: My Journey and the ‘Muslim Question’
Chapter 1: Identity Matters
Chapter 2: The Culture Debate
Chapter 3: What Does it Take to be an American?
Chapter 4: Reflections on the American Media
Chapter 5: Barack Hussein Obama and Young Muslims’ Political Awareness
Chapter 6: The Palestinian Question
Chapter 7: From Here to Where?
Selected Bibliography

About the Author

Nahid Afrose Kabir is Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, University of South Australia. She was a visiting fellow (2009–2011) at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, USA. Dr Kabir is the author of 'Young British Muslims: Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media' (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2010) and 'Muslims in Australia: Immigration, Race Relations and Cultural History' (London: Routledge 2005).


This assured work completes the author's triptych of insightful studies of young Muslims in Australia, Britain and now America. Despite deep reservations about their country's foreign policy and an unsympathetic media, they have not given up on the American dream. Confident and bi-cultural, they share their hopes and fears. The text is enlivened with some excellent cartoons.

- Philip Lewis, University of Bradford

Clearly one of the best books out today describing the global identities of a new generation of politically savvy and culturally diverse American Muslims. Dr Kabir's 'life-stories' approach is perfectly suited for cultivating the diverse voices of Muslims in America.

- Tony Gaskew, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and CERIS

Young American Muslims: Dynamics of Identity is an incisive, informative and accessible study, written in well-organised and succinct chapters promoting dialogue and critical engagement. It reveals the author’s connection and empathy towards issues affecting her interviewees while at the same time offering an astute critical analysis of a diversity of issues and attitudes. Giving voice to young Muslims living in America and a space to tell their stories, Kabir’s study is ultimately optimistic in its appreciation of the maturity and fair-mindedness of the participants which are crucial for establishing as well as continuing constructive dialogues in American society.

- Maja Milatovic, University of Edinburgh, LSE Review of Books

‘As an introductory work, Young American Muslims is an accessible and readable book that is suitable for an undergraduate audience. The qualitative content and diverse array of experiences would make it a useful addition as a supporting text in anthropology, sociology, and Islamic studies courses. Kabir’s book is also an important methodological contribution, due to its research transparency and researcher reflexivity.’

- Logan Cochrane, University of British Columbia, Journal of Religious & Theological Information

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