Growing Up Muslim in the Bay Area


Speakers (left to right) Omar Raza, Abass Darab and Ahlaam Abdulgalil shared their stories at the "Growing Up Muslim" forum in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of New America Media

By Peter Schurmann, New America Media

There are a quarter-million Muslims living in the Bay Area, and nearly half of them are under the age of 35. Many describe an intense personal and spiritual struggle as they look to reconcile their faith with the mainstream of American society.

These young Muslims are the face of American Islam in the 21st century, and yet their stories are rarely heard.

“I prayed five times a day, fasted on occasion and went on Hajj [pilgrimage],” said Omar Raza, who is 16 and a student at Averroes High School in Fremont, the Bay Area’s first Islamic high school. The son of Pakistani immigrants, Raza did these things “because my parents told me to. I never questioned them.”

It was in ninth grade, he says, that he first began looking for answers. “I went through this stage … I was trying to find my purpose.”  

Read the complete story at New America Media. 

A “Growing Up Muslim – San Jose” forum will be held Wednesday, April 9, 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., at the  Joyce Ellington Branch Library in San Jose. For more information, contact Semany  Gashaw, [email protected] or RSVP at “Growing Up Muslim – San Jose.”