Ummid Assistant

Shiksha.com launches free MBA application form

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Life & Style

Young Imams present American Islam

Saturday January 21, 2012 09:06:27 PM, IINA

Washington DC: A new generation of young American Muslims are taking the job of imams, representing what is seen by many as an American brand of Islam to challenge misconceptions about the faith.

“We’re beginning to have larger numbers of American kids going into Muslim studies and become imams,” Yvonne Haddad, a professor of the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University, told the USA Today.

Recently, 27-year-old Asif Umar was named the new imam of Daar-ul-Islam mosque in St. Louis area.

“Now if you look at ads for imams, they ask for candidates who know English, can relate to interfaith groups and communicate with a younger generation,” Haddad said.

“They don’t want to lose the younger generation.”

Growing up in the US, Umar, born to Indian immigrants, was different from old imams in St. Louis area.

Devoted to the city’s sports teams, the young Muslim used to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan with a St. Louis Blues hockey game.

He studied at the Catholic Academy of the Sacred Hearts to the eighth grade.

As Umar says, “Not every imam went to a Catholic school in the suburbs.”

As his friends headed off to high schools, Umar decided to learn more about his faith.

Growing up in a home where religion was an important factor, Zohra Umar, Asif’s mother, was surprised about her youngest child’s dream, at age 14, to memorize the entire Qur’an.

The move showed that immigrant parents of American-born Muslims, who once insisted that their children become doctors and engineers, have begun relaxing those expectations for a new crop of young Muslim-American scholars.

“We were happy about his decision,” his mother said.

“We didn’t think he would be missing out on anything.”

For US Muslims, imams like Umar were potential ambassadors of Islam, who can present the faith’s true image to the Americans.

“He [imam Umar] is the kind of guy we want as the face of American Islam,” Muhammad Dalal, 20, a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said after Umar led his first Friday prayers as imam.

“He was raised here, and he’s representative of our Muslim-American experience.”

Memorizing the holy Qur’an at the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin, Ill., Umar became a hafiz (recite). He also studied typical secular courses in math, science and literature.

After graduation, Umar changed his course from following his father’s footsteps to medical school to join a five-year course in Islamic studies where he specialized in fiqh, the principles of Islamic jurisprudence.

Later in 2008, Umar left for South Africa to pursue a two-year master’s degree in Islamic jurisprudence and earned the title “mufti.”

He also spent six months in Cairo in 2009 to study Arabic afterwards he moved to Springfield, Va., to teach Islamic law at a school similar to the one he graduated from in Illinois.

“We wanted someone who grew up in the community but also someone who had been overseas and was qualified, and he had it all,” said Syed Rahman, a member of the Daar-ul-Islam mosque’s board at the time, and an Umar family friend.

“We went after him hard.”

Khalid Shariff, 70, a retired member of the mosque, said Umar’s age was also important.

“He was educated here, and he knows the culture,” Shariff said.

“For the young people, he will know the problems they go through.”

Being familiar with specific problems that faced Muslims in post 9/11 America, Umar’s friend Nauman Wadalawala says he was the right choice for this position.

“When it comes to talking to younger kids, and what they’re facing in school, he can speak to them from personal experience,” Wadalawala said.








 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page

Comments

Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com

Comments powered by DISQUS

i

i

 

 

 

Top Stories

Mulayam assures release of innocent Muslims, promises youth laptops

Once opposed to English and computers, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has now realised the need to tap the youth voters in Uttar Pradesh, promising  »

Digvijay snubs Mulayam on higher Muslim quota

85 Muslims in Mayawati's list for Uttar Pradesh elections

Congress seeking friends, not votes in Uttar Pradesh: Jaitley

State Elections: Fair ballot, riveting battles expected

 

  Most Read

Rahul works his charm but UP might be too tricky

He's addressed 85 rallies, trying to go beyond just rhetoric by introducing a weaver boy or invoking a success   »

Priyanka and other teasers: Poll scene hots up

Maoists massacre 13 Jharkhand policemen

Thirteen policemen were killed Saturday afternoon when Maoists detonated a landmine in Jharkhand's Garwah district and then opened random fire, authorities said. The ambush took place in the Saro jungle, police spokesman R.K. Mallik told IANS. Additional security forces have been rushed to track down the killers.  »

 

  News Pick

Indian Muslims should stop fighting phantoms

When I first heard of Salman Rushdie I was at university. The Satanic Verses had set off a perfect storm in India and around the world. The book was banned  »

Underworld threat to Rushdie? Mumbai police deny information

Turmoil in Maldives: Rights panel expresses concern

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives Saturday expressed concern over the turmoil in the country and condemned the secret detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court and arrests of two opposition party  »

Kerala to have 450 e-toilets by March

An e-toilet has an automated door opening, power flushing, automatic closet washing and sterilisation and automatic platform-cleaning mechanism -- all backed by SMS alerts to inform a control room about the status  »

 

Picture of the Day

Dr Shariq Nisar, Director of Research and Operations of India’s premier shariah advisory firm TASIS and one of the senior most professionals of Islamic Finance in India, was in Malegaon on Sunday to address a seminar on "Prospects of Islamic Finance in India".

(Photo: ummid.com)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RSS  |  Contact us

 

| Quick links

News

 

Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant

 

National

Science & Technology

RSS

Scholarships

About us

International

Health

Twitter

Government Schemes

Feedback

Regional

History

Facebook

Education

Register

Politics

Opinion

Newsletter

Contact us

Business

Career

Education

     

 

 

Ummid.com: Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange

Ummid.com is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.