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Muslims are creating distinctively American forms of their religion.As a group, Muslims are extremely diverse, and their experiences reflect that diversity.“There is an incredible difference between the students and the parents in how they’re thinking about American Muslim identity,” he said.“The parents want to invest on the Muslim side of that hyphenated identity—they are really worried for certain aspects of that identity to be preserved.” Most students, however, “are negotiating and brainstorming on the American side.” There’s some evidence behind the anxiety: Less than half of Muslims under 40 visit a mosque each week, according to Pew Research Center, and only one-third of Muslims under 30 pray five times a day in keeping with traditional Islamic practice.“The people [who] are anxious about [assimilation] are the people who are white-knuckling it, holding onto tradition, worried that they’re going to lose it,” said Zareena Grewal, an associate professor at Yale University.Imams will often compare young Muslims and Jews, she added, wondering whether their religious organizations will also be hurt by widespread disaffiliation.“It’s difficult for my parents to address head-on a lack of religion,” Siddiquee said.“They don’t have some false pretense that I’m going to ,” the traditional Friday afternoon prayer, “or I’m going to mosque or I even pray myself.
Others self-define new, non-traditional ways of engaging with their faith.
American culture often presents two opposing paths for young Muslims. Muslims—roughly 60 percent of whom are under 40—are going through a process that’s quintessentially American: finding new, diverse, self-constructed identities in their faith, ranging from fully secular to deeply pious.