Ummah : The Identity Negotiations of Muslims in the United States

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2019

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Abstract

This dissertation examines Muslims in the United States and the way they negotiate the boundaries of their group identities. Muslims in the U.S. are an extremely diverse spectrum of Muslim communities with different histories, patterns of residence in the U.S and political ideologies. However, the current racial climate that Islamophobia has created, has racialized Muslims and targeted people across diverse groups with specific blanket stereotypes. How do Muslims, with such distinct cross-cutting cleavages, reconcile their distinct history with the external narratives about them? This dissertation examines how Muslims negotiate their identities – as Muslim, as American, as an ethnic minority- in a highly Islamophobic racial climate. I employ a mixed-methods analysis, drawing on 30 qualitative interviews and originally collected survey data to better understand how Muslims negotiate their different identities. I find that Muslims, across different levels of religious belief, identify more closely with a pan-Muslim identity. There are political implications to this attachment, as people who identify as being Muslim are more likely to be politically engaged, particularly in Muslim-specific political activities. Finally, I find that being American is not simply a national identity but a racialized identity that Muslims distance from identifying with when they feel they are being discriminated due to their identity.

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Sediqe, Nura Ahmad (2019). Ummah : The Identity Negotiations of Muslims in the United States. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/19851.

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