Do Muslims born & raised in the US resist American culture more than other groups?

There seems to be this notion among a wide swath of the US public that there is a particularly strong resistance to US / western culture in people of the Islamic faith who are coming to the US to settle and live. Specifically that this resistance is stronger and more profound than seen in almost any other immigrating group.

With respect the question I’m mostly interested in Doper’s personal experiences with US citizens of the Islamic faith who are first or second generation. I can understand original immigrants may have strong culturally bound attitudes, but what about their kids and grandkids. Is there any evidence of this you have observed in Muslims born and raised in the US who you are familiar with? Do Muslim women born and raised in the US feel they are bound by old school Muslim cultural expectations out of sync with western cultural values?

My husband’s family came here from Iran, but he was born and raised in NYC. Though his family is still somewhat religious, he’s been an atheist since he was a teenager. Totally American. One of his sisters still considers herself a Muslim, though outwardly she’s as American as anyone else. His other sister, like her husband, is Christian.

As far as I know it’s the same standard “they won’t assimilate”/“they’re all disloyal” line that gets trotted out against pretty much every immigrant group. Mexican-Americans get it now, Japanese-Americans got it, Chinese-Americans got it, Catholics got it, my own German-American ancestors got it.

I’m tempted to ask you to define “American culture”…

But having got that out of the way, isn’t one of the essential components of what I think you’re talking about simply minding one’s own business and letting other people get on with their lives, as long as they obey the law?

Try to pin it down any more than that, and you’re in the minefield of any number of controversies about social and personal behaviour where plenty of people who think themselves the true Americans might be “resisting American culture”.

Who’s got the right to define what’s “un-American” (or come to that, since we have these sorts of arguments elsewhere too, as “un-British”, “un-French”, and so on)?

Are we including dark-skinned ones descended from involuntary agricultural workers? Because those look pretty American to me, but I guess we could discuss whether Malcolm X was extremely American or horribly anti-American…

If not clear, most of the world is hugely wary and resistant to much of American culture, whether its 'American work ethic (praise the corporations!), American appearance (‘American teeth’, American diet/weight), American parochialism, American political dysfunction, the American penal system, American institutional racism, American healthcare, American movies - think not what they gross but what they don’t, American rap, country and pop.

Whatever your heritage, there is a fair amount you would hope your children resist.

It’s not any different from any other ethnic group.

Yes and no.

If they are say the only Muslim family in an area you see more of a change. If they live in an area where there are tons of other Muslims, alot less.

But yes, they adapt. One Hindu kid I taught for example, grew a beard early on and when he swam, wore a special turban.

Other Muslims, even women and girls, when they swim, wear a special swimsuit.

Please tell me you are aware that Muslims and Hindus are not the same.

Probably the boy he’s talking about is actually a Sikh. (Yes, it’s taking a long time.)

Answer to the OP: No. But it’s possible to remain Muslim & be a good American.

Remember when they said the Japanese would never assimilate into American society?

Well what would they say now, when you can buy sushi at any supermarket?

See, they assimilated us! :eek: Pretty soon we’ll be seeing McFalafels.

But yes, as has been mentioned several times, Muslims are the “unwanted immigrants du jour”. In the past it has been Italians, Jews, Irish, Asians, Latinos - pretty much everyone.

As far as I can tell, these types of problems tend to happen because the majority culture won’t accept them, not the other way around. Hence why I hear of tons of problems in France after the face covering law went into effect.

I live in an area with a heavy Muslim (Somali) population that also had a heavy influx of Hmong in the 1970s.

The first generation assimilates with mixed results. Plenty of my 65 year old Hmong neighbors don’t speak English. This is especially true for women, because they don’t tend to get out as much and remain more constrained by the culture. I’ve only met a few older Somali’s who speak more than a few words of English. (But my Italian immigrant great grandparents never spoke English either).

The younger you are - and the more male you are, the more likely you are to get a job or go to school and interface with people who have been in this country a long time. So the younger immigrants usually assimilate more, but not completely…they are still bound by the expectations of their families.

There is little difference between the Hmong kids born here to parents who came here as small children and my own kids. Except the Hmong kids still have bigger family ties and are more tied into their cultural artifacts (then again, Minnesotans still eat lutefisk, no one in Norway or Sweden does, but we do in Minnesota). I’d expect the generation of Somalis that are being born here will have children who are pretty darn American in culture. It doesn’t happen overnight, it took four generations for my family from my Italian speaking great grandparents to me (I make a good lasagna - I’m not even Catholic any longer)

Heck, it took 180 years for my husbands family from stepping off the Mayflower to signing the Declaration of Independence to become Americans. Give recent immigrants a break. (He’s an Alden and an Adams)

I’ve known and worked with a handful of Muslims over the years. All have assimilated fairly well, and all have spoken fluent English, one with no accent at all. (Well, I should say, with an American accent.)

Two in particular stand out; one Afghan-born college friend who’d come to the US as a child. She was president of our debate society (the oldest student organization on at the oldest public university in the nation), president of the campus chapter of Amnesty International, passionate defender of human rights, a Dean’s List student whose ambition was to get an M.D. and return to Afghanistan to open a clinic for women. The Taliban put paid to those plans, so she settled for becoming the director of Public Health at the city’s largest hospital. She married another college friend of ours, a non-Afghan, non-Muslim, generic white guy, and has two great sons. She also takes periodic vacations to go to south Georgia and staff free clinics for migrant agriculture workers.

The other was a Persian - he wouldn’t call himself “Iranian” - who came to the US as a teenager. Smart as a whip, fluent in English, Farsi, and Arabic, he was recruited by the FBI as an interpreter, but refused because he wanted to be able to visit his family in Iran. Instead he worked full time at my store while getting a degree in counseling. Now he’s a Licensed Professional Counselor, working for a substance abuse treatment facility. And a practicing Buddhist, to boot.

So far from resisting assimilation, both these folks make my community a better one, for being part of it.