Demand for U.S.-Born Imams Up in American Mosques

In the introduction of Progressive Muslims, Omid Safi, the editor, says that one of the biggest concerns among those who care about the current state of the American Muslims is the growing fundamentalism among the American Muslims. One of the points that Safi discussions is the fact that the Muslim Students Associations in American Universities tend to lean towards the stricter comprehension of Islam. The members of these organizations tend to bring the Islam that they learn at home or home countries–most members of MSA are international students or second generation immigrants–and to not consider the American context where their Islam is supposed to be practiced.

Such concern for the state of American Islam seems to be valid even today, after almost 10 years since the publication of the Progressive Muslims. Unlike the previous one, today the concern is related to the prevalence of foreign-born imams in the United States. Apparently, this news article shows that 85 percents of American imams are born outside the border. Probably, the concern over foreign-born imam is related to the assumption that foreign-born imams are not well-versed in the American context and values. Following that assumption, then, at least 85 percents of the American Imams are prone to fail to relate to the American values in teaching Islam. This article finds the presence of a native US imam interesting. Mustafa Umar, the said imam, is described positively due to his knowledge of Islam and US teenagers that makes him able to “connect to the [teenage Muslims] in their own terms” (Gillian Flaccus).

So, if you’re interested in this issue, go to the hyperlinked article above.

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