Muslim integration in the United States and England: The role of Islamic schools

Book Section

Debates over faith-based education have resurfaced in recent years, due to an increase in Islamic schools in the west and concerns over their potential negative influence on Muslim youth. To date, most of these debates have occurred in the public and political realms with less academic attention to the issue. This chapter addresses this gap by focusing on Islamic middle schools in the U.S. and England in relation to social cohesion. We draw on extensive qualitative data collected over twenty months at three Islamic middle schools in both countries to understand the experiences of Muslim students and their families. Contrary to popular perceptions, we find that Islamic schools can provide a vehicle for the participation of Muslim families in mainstream institutions by equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate in non-Muslim arenas. To the extent that religion is critical, it often works to strengthen, not weaken, integration by providing administrators and teachers with a legitimate voice to promote student involvement in activities outside of the religious enclave. Importantly, we find that attending Islamic schools does not necessarily translate into greater levels of religiosity among Muslim youth, and in some cases, turns them away from religion altogether.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Read, JG; Hussain, S

Published Date

  • January 1, 2018

Book Title

  • Growing Up Muslim in Europe and the United States

Start / End Page

  • 133 - 152

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781315279091

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.4324/9781315279091-8

Citation Source

  • Scopus