Perceptions & Experiences of Non-Muslim Minority Students on the Muslim Image

Eliann R. Carr, Yusuf Incetas

Abstract


The purpose of this study is to explore non-Muslim minority students attending a minority-serving university in a rural community on their knowledge and experiences of the Muslim image. Research is dominated by majority-minority interactions and perspectives regarding subjective reports of controversial issues, especially the heightened awareness of Muslim image in the United States over the past two decades. This trend has perpetuated a growing gap in knowledge of understanding the unique minority-minority perceptions and the development of minority cultural awareness; therein, generating the motivation for this study. The researchers applied a qualitative assessment exploring non-Muslim understanding of foundational components associated with the Muslim image, such as basic Islamic vocabulary competencies and additional open-ended questions regarding experienced social interactions. From the responses of the participants stemmed five emerging themes: enculturation, geographic association, stigmatization, influencers, and empathy. These results demonstrate a general openness toward the Muslim identity but also include consistent misconceptions that may be easily rectified by interactive-educational interventions. The findings acknowledge the propensity of non-Muslim minority students’ willingness to learn from authentic Muslim image, despite the influence of disingenuous Muslim images depicted by current media outlets.

Keywords


Muslim image; minority-minority perspective; American non-Muslim minority students; horizontal hostility

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References


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