American Muslim youth are a heterogeneous group, with varying backgrounds, experiences, and
needs. Families, schools, and communities can benefit from research on American Muslim youth
to improve current approaches in youth programming and development. This report identifies the
nuances and complexities of American Muslim youth’s developmental context and environments.
It highlights research on underserved Muslim youth populations—namely young Muslim women, AfricanAmerican
Muslim youth, convert Muslim youth, and refugee Muslim youth. Risk factors and behaviors are
also highlighted. Finally, eight youth programming recommendations that can be implemented around three
developmental contexts (families, schools, and communities) are provided.
The differences in developmental outcomes for American
Muslim youth are a result of multiple, interacting personal
and social developmental contexts (e.g., family, school, and
community). Individuals interested in American Muslim youth
development must consider the interaction of 1) the young
person’s specific characteristics and experiences, 2) fluidity
of his or her development, and 3) the varying environments
the person is embedded within.
American Muslim youth contain many subgroups that are
considered underserved that are highlighted in the present
report. Young American Muslim women may struggle with
the culturally determined narrative of women in Islam and
religious spaces, issues related to the observance of hijab, and the internalization of beauty standards.
Muslim youth often live in diverse social and structural contexts that are highly influenced by race.
Young Muslim converts are susceptible to experiencing negative outcomes due to the loss of support from
parents and former friends, resulting in a critical unmet social need. Finally, understanding the migratory process
of refugee Muslim youth and its impact on development, identifying potential risks, and developing appropriate
interventions is critical to better support these youth