NPR reports that “Young Muslims are determined to take control of their own stories… and are creating fresh paths for the estimated 3.45 million Muslims in America. Rather than defending themselves, they are defining themselves. In a tense political climate, they are worried less about explaining Islam to others and more about contributing to the American tapestry through their unique perspectives.”
NPR correspondent Leila Fadel traveled across the country to meet “young Muslims expressing themselves in new ways.” Below are some samplings of what she found:
— Ikhlas Saleem and Makkah Ali are best friends from Muslim communities in Atlanta where they co-host Identity Politics which features dialogue and debate about their experiences as black women, Muslims and millennials in America. The podcast has about 3,000 listeners and is mostly made up of young Muslims. Speaking at this year’s The Muslim Protagonist conference, Ms. Saleem says she would like to see Muslims building their own platforms. “The only way you can represent is when you represent yourself.”
— Amani Al-Khatahtbeh started the popular MuslimGirl website from her bedroom as a teenager, writing on topics that interested her as a Muslim American young girl — from fashion to identity. She says her website gives a much needed voice because “we, just like any women … can’t be put in a box.”
— Jihad Saafir took his father’s storefront mosque in South Los Angeles and transformed it into something “next level” to include a school and community center, and named it Islah LA (islah is the Arabic word for reform). “We deal with what has happened historically in the African-American community and the African community. So we make sure that the children are aware of who they are, their identity,” says Mr. Saafir.