Muslim Americans identity issue
An issue that affects my generation is the issue of identity for Muslim Americans. Many of my fellow muslim americans struggle to figure out who they really are. For people like myself, it's almost as if there is no inbetween. You were either a Muslim or an American. Muslims, born in America or not, attribute this to the contrast between the beliefs of Islam and the culture of America. Not only is it an issue of beliefs and culture, but the history of American and Muslim relations play a major role as well. With the rise of Islamic Terrorist Organizations in the United States and the Middle East, it's hard for Muslim Americans, who were born in the United States, to claim they love the country they were born in when people of the same religion are attacking the country and its people at the same time. Other Americans have distrust in Muslims as well due to the existence of terrorist organziations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda who use Islam as their face. The separation between being an American and being a muslim was so painfully obvious to all Muslims when opponents of Obama used propaganda that he was Muslim to create distrust in him. Was being a Muslim such a contradiction and threat to the American indentity that Obama shouldn't become president because of it? Even after being born and raised on American soil for his whole life and serving the country as a senator? All because he was Muslim, he couldn't be trusted? To many Muslim Americans who were born and raised in the United States, our identites were destroyed. We didn't know what we were anymore. We lived our whole lives in the United States, but we were no longer accepted because of the actions of others who claimed the same religion as us. The same religion our ancestors followed and passed down until it reached us. We became the "other" in American society. Unlike our parents who are immigrants, we don't have any other place to call home.Our parents can look back fondly to the country they were born in because they will always be accepted there, but us first generation American Muslims have nowhere else to look but to America. The countries our parents immigrated from are far to foreign. Many Muslim Americans can barely speak their parents' mother tongue nor could they survive the culture shock. Our dilemma affects much of our lives. It affects how we act, what we say, our political beliefs, and how we practice our traditions. American Muslims feel like outcasts when it comes to socializing with others their age. Their peers have girlfriends and boyfriends, enjoy partying, drinking, and many other activities deemed as haram, whereas Muslim Americans have to abstain from socializing with friends in such settings and manner due to religious and cultural beliefs. I, like many of my fellow Muslim Americans, feel so out of place. We feel left out because we can't enjoy this American youth as our peers are freely allowed to. American Muslims are stuck in a middle ground where they don't truly fit in anywhere. They claim the culture and religion of their parents, but claim their nationalities are American. Muslim Americans have an inner turmoil not knowing what their identity really is anymore. This crisis prevents Muslim Americans from trying to stand out as leaders in their communities. I believe there needs to be an increase in positive muslim figures that consider themselves American. There's no need for them to be famous like Hasan Minhaj or Reza Aslan. They should be everyday people known by their neighbors and friends for helping the community. I strive to contribute to this goal by volunteering when possible and meeting people in my community through this volunteer work.