Muslim American Youth: Understanding Hyphenated Identities through Multiple Methods

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent “war on terror,” growing up Muslim in the U.S. has become a far more challenging task for young people. They must contend with popular cultural representations of Muslim-men-as-terrorists and Muslim-women-as-oppressed, the suspicious gaze of peers, teachers, and strangers, and police, and the fierce embodiment of fears in their homes.

With great attention to quantitative and qualitative detail, the authors provide heartbreaking and funny stories of discrimination and resistance, delivering hard to ignore statistical evidence of moral exclusion for young people whose lives have been situated on the intimate fault lines of global conflict, and who carry international crises in their backpacks and in their souls.

The volume offers a critical conceptual framework to aid in understanding Muslim American identity formation processes, a framework which can also be applied to other groups of marginalized and immigrant youth. In addition, through their innovative data analytic methods that creatively mix youth drawings, intensive individual interviews, focused group discussions, and culturally sensitive survey items, the authors provide an antidote to “qualitative vs. quantitative” arguments that have unnecessarily captured much time and energy in psychology and other behavioral sciences.

Muslim American Youth provides a much-needed road map for those seeking to understand how Muslim youth and other groups of immigrant youth negotiate their identities as Americans.


“This book provides a unique, powerful, rich, and nuanced understanding of identity development among Muslim-American youth. The publication of Muslim American Youth is a landmark event in developmental science.”
—Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, Tufts University

“Sirin and Fine…render visible the complex lives of a profoundly maligned and misunderstood group—Muslim-American youth. They deploy surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and identity maps to explore how Muslim-American youth are creating and re-creating themselves within these politically and socially charged times . . . This is a must read.”

—M. Brinton Lykes, Lynch School of Education and Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College

“This book will be particularly useful for any professional who needs well-researched support for what their instinct tells them their community needs.”

—VOYA Voices of Youth Advocates

“With heart and eloquence, the authors illuminate vital concerns about our society’s treatment of Muslim-American youth.”

—Youth Today

“This work complexly and richly captures the diversity in the lived identities of Muslim-American youth, highlighting the power and potential of mixed methodologies in studying the phenomenon of life on the hyphen.”

—Harvard Educational Review

NYU Press

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