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Futures Panel 1

Muslims in Detroit are optimistic about the future. Anti-Muslim prejudice is widespread, but most local Muslims believe they are confronting stereotypes effectively, both as individuals and with the help of civil rights watchdog organizations like CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations). While doing research for this project, we have seen that Muslims welcome the scrutiny of non-Muslims: “The more people get to know us, the more positive their images of Islam will be.” Many Muslims have come to Detroit from other American cities, and from other countries, to live with fellow Muslims and practice their faith. They insist that, even after the 9/11 attacks, the US is a place where they enjoy religious freedom, often more than they experienced in their home countries.

“What is the future of Islam in Detroit? What would you like to see, 10 or 20 years from now?” We asked dozens of people this question. Their answers were fascinating, and they conformed to several recognizable trends:

UNITY: “I see a future where the Muslims are immersed in each other, not separated by race or nation.”

TRANSCENDING (IMMIGRANT) CULTURE: “I want to see an Islam that is less associated with immigrant culture, a more spiritual Islam. When I talk to people of other faith traditions, I don’t want Arab culture, or Pakistani culture, or whatever … I don’t want that getting in the way.”

TRANSCENDING (AMERICAN) CULTURE: “We are improving our knowledge of Islam. People moved away from the true Islam here in America. Now we are moving back to it. The education and leadership are better today. I hope we will stay on the straight path.”

ANXIETY ABOUT MUSLIM YOUTH: “I want us to keep our kids close to the faith. We need to give them activities and things to do to keep them off the streets. There are a lot of bad things around them. We are losing many of our kids.”

PRIDE IN MUSLIM YOUTH: “We need to make a smooth transition to the next generation. We look at our children and we’re humbled. They’re accomplishing so much. They are teaching us how to be better Muslims. They have energy and confidence we never had.”

EXPANSION: “I think we will continue to grow. There will be more mosques, bigger mosques. More schools, too. I would like to see more people accepting Islam. I think that will happen.”

TRIUMPHALISM: “I see American Muslims taking a leadership role in Detroit and inthe Muslim world. We’re at the center here. We understand America better than anybody. We can be a link between the East and the West.”

INTEGRATION: “I want to see Islam becoming something normal and accepted, a normal part of American society, like Christianity or Judaism.”

Futures Panel 1

Futures Panel 1

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