MI: YOUNG MUSLIMS SPEAK OUT
When Sofia Latif sees news reports portraying Muslims as terrorists, she sometimes sends e-mails to journalists deploring coverage she views as one-sided and urges them to publicize good works done in the name of Islam.
Latif, 21, of Dearborn Heights is the co-owner of a marketing company, active in her mosque and part of a new generation of Muslims in America that is just coming of age -- and arriving more religious than their parents and more willing to speak out on controversial issues regarding their faith, according to a recent survey and interviews with dozens of Muslims in Metro Detroit.
"I think it is more the case that the older generation had more of a push to convince others that they are Americans, whereas we are born here," Latif said. "For us, being American comes along with being Muslim, and many of my generation feel a responsibility to change the mistaken impressions about Islam and to take the responsibility to challenge some Muslims when they do things wrong."
Her father, Victor Ghalib Begg, a local Muslim leader, agrees his daughter's generation is more assertive and perhaps more devout.
"These young people are the product of a free society, and they have grown up believing in that freedom," said Begg of Bloomfield Hills. "As far as speaking up, they are not shy. These are American kids."
In interviews with The Detroit News, dozens of Muslims ages 18-29 said they are more forceful in their political views and more confident that Islamic extremism will fade -- in part because fanaticism itself defies the tenets of Islam. Younger adults say it is confidence in their religious and secular lives that led to responses in a recent poll by the Pew Research Center that revealed some evidence that they are more extreme in their political views than their elders.