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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Contextual Factors Impacting the Educational Experiences and Salient Identity of Muslim American Students /

  • Author(s): Abukar, Sheryl Steinberg
  • et al.

In a post 9/11world, many policy makers, educational leaders, teachers, and parents are concerned about how to best address the unique needs of Muslim American students. Recognizing that different school options are available, it is important to know how school environments, peer pressure, and attitudes of the dominant society impact their overall educational experience and integration into American society. Given the diversity within the Muslim community itself, research is needed that explores how the identity of Muslim American students is contextually related to gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, degree of religiosity, and/or school environments. This study examined Muslim American students' acculturation and identity development within North American educational institutions from such a transformative-emancipatory perspective. The purpose is to show if relationships exist between external contextual factors, acculturation strategies, and the development of their religious identity. Interviews were conducted with 13 alumnae of a full-time K-8 Islamic school in southern California to examine the effect of various school environments on the development of a salient religious identity and their integration into American society. The voices and perspectives of this group of "exemplar Muslim youth" (18 - 25 years old) were elicited to enlighten and transform efforts toward expanding cultural proficiency and inclusive educational institutions

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