There are many challenges faced by Muslims in general in the West. Principal among them are those falling under the categories of education, economics, nutrition and health, holidays, Islamic “products,” and personal concerns. Many of the challenges faced by Muslims in the West generally are shared by African American Muslims in particular. However, the genesis, history, and current trajectory of African American Islam produces variances in the nature and degree of those challenges for African American Muslims. Also, the challenge of integration with the umma is unique to them.
Challenges faced by Muslims in the West generally
Islamizing the education of their children is important to Muslims in the West, as education in the West is generally ethnocentrically Occidental and Judeo-Christian or secular in nature. The economic concerns of Muslims in the West range from the avoidance of interest to financing mosques and Islamic centers without state support. Muslims in the West face nutrition and health concerns ranging from keeping their dietary restrictions to Islamic practices in health care. Muslims in the West grapple with the question of whether to celebrate Christian and Jewish holidays along with their neighbors and struggle for recognition of their own holidays. The relative scarcity of Islamic “products” in the West such as books, videos, CDs, instructional materials, software, games, puzzles, products that address the Muslim concern of time and direction for prayer, alcohol-free makeup, and Muslim clothing, can be a challenge to Muslims in the West. Other concerns, particularly those of a personal nature, run the gamut from whether to listen to music, praying at work or postponing or skipping prayer, fraternization with non-Muslims, women’s behavior and public participation, and traditional Islamic burial.