Post 11: Western Influence and Muslim Youth


1. What struggles are unique to Muslim youth in Europe? In what forms does Muslim youth identity manifest itself in Europe? What role does discrimination play in the formation of Muslim youth identities?

Throughout history, the Muslim population in Europe has been mistreated. Because there are so many differences between Eastern and Western cultures, assimilating to the cultural norms in Europe have been difficult for many Muslims. At the same point, the need to assimilate is part of the problem. This feeling is not only felt by adults, but also Muslim youth. Both demographics feel an overarching theme of ostracization and being ousted by peers. Adults often feel the effects of this discrimination when searching for a job, and children will too. Muslim youth often find it hard to fit in at school and aren’t accepted by their peers. Both groups are highly affected by the radical terrorists that kill in the name of Islam. Though this group is very small in comparison to the size of the entire religious population, it’s radicalness draws attention and assumptions from outsiders. Another problem Muslim youth experience is being alienated. It seems they find it hard to balance being European while also being Muslim. With Christianity being the major religion in Europe, Muslim youth have to work harder to find places to worship and practice their religion compared to Christians by way of the number of churches compared to mosques. The various factors of discrimination, alienation and more do not make being a Muslim youth in Europe easy.

2. In what ways has the influence of Western experiences on Malaysian Muslims been contradictory? How can this be applied to Muslims worldwide?

Because Western and Eastern cultures draw so many differences, the influence of Western influences have led some Muslims to go to extremes in order to make the difference between “me and them” even more clear. So, they draw a divide between their values and conduct from that of the Western world. The finding for this idea with Malaysian Muslims is that their experiences in the West radicalized their previously held beliefs, rather than led to assimilation. Because of the difficulties discussed earlier that Muslims in Western cultures find themselves subjected to, many Malaysian Muslims radicalized their beliefs in order to defend their values more aggressively. This can extend to Muslims worldwide that find Western cultures hampering to their own culture. To feel less threatened by Western ideals, some Muslims choose to radicalize their beliefs and keep the Western culture in the West.


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