Education and Muslim Identity During a Time of Tension explores life inside an Islamic Center and school in present-day America.
Melanie Brooks’ work draws on in-depth discussions with community and school leaders, teachers, parents and students to present thoughtful and contemporary perspectives on many issues central to American-Muslim identities. Particularly poignant are the children’s voices, as they discuss their developing identities and how they navigate the choice of being American, Muslim, or both. The book covers topics ranging from establishing the community and the considerations involved, the management of diversity within the community, and approaches to modern opinions on and experiences of gender and extremism in the western world.
Based on focus groups, interviews and observations collected over a two-year period, this book serves as a fascinating and informative insight into the culture and experiences of modern American Muslims. This is essential reading for students and researchers interested in education, religion, politics, sociology, and most particularly in contemporary Islamic studies.
Table of Contents
The (Mis)Understanding of Islamic Education
- Finding and Sustaining a Community: "I'm not here, I'm not there, and I want to belong."
- Establishing a Unique Education: "We need to teach our kids about Islam."
- Leading American Islamic Academy: "God wants us to practice responsibility, kindness, compassion and respect."
- Managing Diversity: "Differences are important and so we don’t ignore them."
- Having Confidence in American Islamic Academy: "The students are learning not only about the Qur’an but also about being Muslim in America today."
- Developing an American Muslim Identity: "Here, kids don’t grow up in a bubble."
- Navigating Gender: "We shouldn’t have that type of diversity."
- Challenging Hate: "We are not planning to bomb anything. We are normal human beings."
- Responding to the 2016 Presidential Election: "What are we going to do now?"
- Finding Balance During a Time of Tension: Lessons Learned
Glossary of Islamic Terms
Melanie C. Brooks is Senior Lecturer of Educational Policy at Monash University, Australia. She is a J. William Fulbright Senior Scholar alumnus who has conducted studies in the United States, Egypt, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Her research focuses on contemporary issues influencing educational leadership and the unique role religion plays in education.
Dr. Brooks' work adds a significant contribution to the field of Islamic education. It is not merely her exploration of individual Muslim identity or collective communal Muslim identity that makes it so novel, but it is that she accomplishes all of this in ways that will help educators look at both Muslim education and communities in a more nuanced and delicate light.
Muhammad Khalifa, Associate Professor and Robert H. Beck Chair of Ideas in Education, University of Minnesota.
"Education and Muslim identity during a time of tension: Inside an American Islamic school makes an extraordinary contribution at a critical time. Brooks provides keen insight into how school leaders of an American Islamic school navigate issues of faith, politics, community and values. Educational leadership scholars and practitioners will find this to be an informative and simulating read." Michelle D. Young, UCEA Executive Director and Professor of Leadership at the University of Virginia
"This book is a timely contribution to an area of educational leadership which is sorely needed to help Americans and other peoples understand that Islam and twenty first century democratic principles are not at odds with one another. The distorted image many Americans have of Islam has long been needed to be corrected. Melanie Brooks has brought us an intimate account of how this cultural refocusing and alignment really work. One can only hope that others will follow her lead." Fenwick W. English, R. Wendel Eaves Senior Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.