Muslim millennials share experiences and misconceptions of relig

Muslim millennials share experiences and misconceptions of religion

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

There are between 3 to 6 million practicing Muslims in America. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, about half of the Muslim American population was born in the U.S. The study shows this percentage will continue to grow as immigration slows and younger Muslims start having families. 

There are similarities between foreign and U.S. born Muslims which includes high level of pride in religious and national identities. In other words, both groups said they are proud to be Muslim and proud to be American.

"I understand two different cultures, I've been exposed to two different cultures, on top of being an American as well," said Zayne Belal, a Muslim American. "So I feel very comfortable in my skin in terms of going to Arabic places or going to African American places."

Zayne Belal is bi-racial, his father's African American and his mother's Egyptian. he said he's experienced acceptance living in both cultures. 

"I've had like one issue where someone has been kind of like, I guess xenophobic of it," said Belal. "At the same time majority 99.9% of my life I feel very comfortable to be a Muslim in America."

That's not the case for Sami Moussa, a U.S. born Muslim, whose parents are Syrian and Moroccan immigrants.

"Not physical altercations, but like really aggressive people come," said Moussa. "There was one time in particular where there was a man I believe it was brother Jed. He came and he preached on campus saying all Muslims are going to hell, these people are going to hell, just preaching what he calls the gospel."

Layan Al-Sukhni is a Texas Tech med student born in Saudi Arabia. Her parents are from Jordan and immigrated to the U.S. in 2001. Her family had a supporting community that made them feel welcomed when they first arrived, but after 9-11 harassment and discrimination against Muslims spiked.

"It makes you feel like the country is against you," said Al-Sukhni. "So it is kind of hard sometimes to remember that you are also a part of this country and that you deserve to have your voice heard and you don't deserve to be treated like an outsider."

Islam has become the second most-practiced religion globally, according to the Pew Research data. The Muslim population in the U.S. and Europe is expected to double by 2030. 

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