The Future “American Islam”

By in Immigrant NYC

Muslim Immigration

“There are an estimated 7 million Muslims living in the United States, and polls suggest that 64% of these Muslims are immigrants”

Muslim Immigration History

Reasons for Immigrating

Overall Theme: Religion

Although the number of Muslim immigrants is rapidly growing, we have very little understanding of their assimilation and adaptation to the United States. Recently there has been prominent shifts in immigration when scrutinizing the progression of settlers in the United States. The alterations in immigration are centered primarily on either how well new immigrants integrate into the American economy or how poorly they integrate into American culture. The underlying theme of immigration is the dynamic relationship between immigrants’ cultural belief systems and their integration into the United States.

Individual vs. Community: Interview of student vs. interview of mosque immigrants


Religious institutions and groups serve diverse functions for immigrants. Individuals either seek membership within these organizations, or lose sight of their cultural identity to become an Americanized accent. Kurien found that Muslim immigrants tend to “increase their religious participation once they arrive to the U.S. because religion becomes more salient, allowing individuals the ability to create and sustain their immigrant ethnicity”

Luckily, I was able to observe a religious organization that encompassed all  individuals with similar religious practices. Engulfing myself into the Muslim culture evaluating religious values and customs, I attended a local Staten Island mosque. Consuming Muslim food and learning lessons for the Quran, I recognized the similarity between the other conventional divine religions: Judaism and Christianity. Juxtaposing all three religions, the only difference that Muslims believe in the last prophet being “peace upon him” Muhammad. Initially, the three Pakistani gentlemen provided significant insight into the life of a Muslim American immigrant.

Interview with Wagner student

“How liberal muslim student Reko Rasool claims that “accepting Islam is quite optimistic”


“Home”- Kurdistan, Iraq

Some immigrants lose sight of their cultural identity to become an Americanized accent. Reko Rasool, freshman at Wagner College, explained his adaptation and acculturation into the United States from Kurdistan.


Map of Iraqi Kurdistan

“He is someone I look up to, and want to be like in the future”

Although Reko has not practiced his religious customs in America, he remains proud of identifying himself as a Kurdistan particularly because of Kurdistan’s struggle against the Iraqi regime for freedom.


Reko (center), hawler aka erbil. Capital of Kurdistan.

Discrimination: “Walked into a  room amongst typical foreigners”

When touching upon the topic of discrimination in the interview with Reko, Reko was happy to report that he has not encountered discrimination here at Wagner College. In fact, he very much enjoys the diversity within Wagner’s community and especially the D (diversity) requirement for Wagner’s general education requirement. However, traveling to NY Reko encountered some impediments along the way. Entering the United States through JFK airport, Reko faced difficulty passing through the security system.

Among several difficulties, issue of identity and integration into American mainstream appears to be the most important one.As long as both communities continue to demonize each other, the integration of American Muslims into the American mainstream will be discourage; and prolonged alienation of Muslims will continue. “Perceptions of threat, party identification, and ideology”with assistance of the corrupted media skew the view of the American people.

The obvious explanation for the unpopularity of Muslims in contemporary American society centers on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011. After 9/11, attentions re-focused on Muslims around the world in general, and specifically on the Muslim immigrants in the United States specifically. The attacks were carried out by Muslim extremists, however, with the negative media coverage,  there has been greater distaste for muslim community. The interview with Reko Rasool helped disclosed the perplexity of this relation.images-1Reko  postulates that eventually in time there will is an American Islam gradually being created.

With the help of this project, both interviewing an immigrant and engulfing myself into the culture at the mosque, I am more aware of America’s narrow-mindedness than I have ever been before. I strive to commit to service America and provide awareness to the many disillusioned Americans. I cannot help America dramatically because I am only one person, one voice. However, I will advocate to many individuals as much as I can and hopefully this will eventually enlighten some individuals that were unaware.


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