Jihad of the youth : why first generation immigrant Muslim youths are drawn to the philosophy of Tariq Ramadan
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Muslim children of immigrants raised in non-Muslim, Western societies face many issues in practicing their religion. While there are undoubtedly a multitude of sociological implications of this, this thesis focuses on their being caught in the middle of two cultures: (i) the culture practiced within their household which is generally a microcosm of their parents' homeland; and (ii) that of the society in which they live (focusing on European nations and the United States). There is no doubt that these children must attempt to forge an identity that allows them to fully exist in both 'worlds,' if you will. However, Muslim youths face a unique problem in that Islam as it is literally practiced or interpreted by its adherents may not readily allow them to assimilate into non-Muslim societies.; Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic modernist leader, advocates an Islam that allows for this assimilation. Muslim youths worldwide, without any formal Islamic education, generally tend to favor his interpretations of Islam over those of other Islamic modernist leaders. This thesis postulates that Tariq Ramadan uses ijtihad, or the concept of analyzing sacred Islamic texts in light of present-day circumstances, to allow for and advocate assimilation into the youths' Western society while being able to practice Islam. In doing so, Ramadan's interpretation of Islam frees the faith from the cultural and ethnic practices and traditions often presented to youths as 'Islamic' or as being justified by Islam. By encouraging youths to read sacred texts and analyze their place in society today, Ramadan empowers youths and propagates individual piety rather than a blind-faith mass following.; This thesis will delineate the unique situation in which first generation Muslim children of immigrants are placed in when attempting to reconcile their faith, as presented to them by their parents, with Western society, and how Tariq Ramadan harmonizes Islam and living in the West for these youths.
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