“Muslims are Finally waking up”: post-9/11 American immigrant youth challenge conditional citizenship

Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Thea Abu El-Haj, Arshad Ali, Michelle Fine, Roozbeh Shirazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Across the world, Muslims in non-Muslim majority countries are seen as alien humans, relegated to the margins of citizenship, permitted tenuous forms of belonging as long as they follow the “Good Muslim” script assigned to them by the majority. In the U.S., youth from Muslim American immigrant communities have awakened to, and are rejecting, this conditional citizenship. Drawing on a nation-wide qualitative study with youth from diverse Muslim immigrant communities, we argue that, since 9/11, there have been significant changes in young Muslim Americans’ self-perceptions and attitudes toward their rights, citizenship, and feelings of belonging. These youth recognize themselves as people of colour and are more likely than their parents’ generations to link their struggles with those of other racially minoritized communities, thus suggesting a more radical politics of belonging in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
StatePublished - Aug 2 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Spencer Foundation for their generous support of our research through their small grants program. We would also like to acknowledge the support of a team of research assistants who contributed to this project in the following ways: Project Managers: Emily Moore, Meilin Chong, and Afaf Al-Khoshman. Focus group data collection assistance: Cristina Onea, Sara Musaifer, Irtiza Binte-Farid, Mallak Al-Husban, Nasreen Hussein. Individual interviewers: Madina Wahab, Emily Moore, Aishwarya Kaple, Shazmeneh Durrani, Zain Hussain, Angel Jones. Memo writing: Meilin Chong, Laura Romig, Afaf Al-Khoshman, Ankhi Thakurta, Anum Maqsud, Irtiza Binte-Farid. Data coding: Meilin Chong, Emily Moore, Madina Wahab, Aishwarya Kaple, Laura Romig, Ankhi Thakurta. Finally, we'd like to thank Jennifer Moore for her helpful edits.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • belonging
  • citizenship
  • immigrants
  • Muslim youth
  • post-9/11
  • racism


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