Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

David Cotter




Muslim, identity, Islamophobia, America, stratification, racism


The Muslim American experience is unique in many ways. Socioeconomic status and higher rates of integration make them different from Muslim minority populations in other developed countries. Because of the tragic events of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and intensifying Islamophobia, their American-ness is often called into question, thereby distinguishing their experience from other Americans. Creating and conveying to society a Muslim American identity is arguably the biggest challenge facing Muslim Americans today. In order to investigate the ways in which Muslim Americans attempt to create their identities, twenty interviews were conducted with 2nd generation Muslims. Because perceived discrimination and prejudice can stimulate collective action, the role of Muslim organizations in the identity creation process was investigated (James and Poletta 2006). All of the participants in this study were cognizant of the negative group identity of Muslims as well discrimination toward their group in daily life. In terms of what exactly Muslim organizations should do to further a distinct Muslim American identity, the majority of participants were split between increased involvement in the political sphere and increased participation in civic initiatives. Although they differed in views of what initiative is most helpful to tackling islamophobia and discrimination, they all explained that the situation requires immediate action. Most importantly, all the participants considered themselves American, called for greater social involvement, and warned against marginalization. These results have implications for Muslim organizations and the Muslim American community as a whole in the identity construction process.