News / USA

US Muslims Challenged to Steer Youth Away From Violence

Graves are seen at Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, May 10, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is reportedly buried there.Graves are seen at Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, May 10, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is reportedly buried there.
Graves are seen at Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, May 10, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is reportedly buried there.
Graves are seen at Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, May 10, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is reportedly buried there.
Kokab Farshori

The involvement of two young Muslim men in the Boston Marathon bombing has reminded members of the American Muslim community to make greater efforts to reach out to young people who may consider taking a violent path. But they say Muslim youths should not be considered any differently than other young Americans coping with stress.

Imam Johari of the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in suburban Washington dismissed the idea that Muslim youth are more prone to violence, and that it takes an entire community to help young people express their feelings in a healthy way.

"There’s no such thing as a Muslim cancer, there’s no such thing as Muslim hypertension and there’s no such thing as Islamic violence," he said. "These are young people who have been caught up in something that has something to do with their own personal, emotional problems. We’re all doing what we can, but we can’t do enough. This has to be a problem that all of us solve together."

US Muslim Community Faces Challenges in Keeping Youth Off Violent Pathi
July 20, 2013 12:38 PM
A Pew Research survey released in August of 2011 showed 59 percent of adult Muslims in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 39, compared to 40 percent of adults in the general public. This large number of young adults means more opportunities for American Muslims. But, as VOA's Kokab Farshori explains, that brings some challenges, too.]]

Johari said he and leaders like him are spreading a message of non-violence by drawing from historical lessons.

"I tell the legacy to young people about the African Americans. If we can create social change, and it was not violence that freed the Negros," he said. "It was the willingness of the whites, the blacks and religious people and government leaders to join together and say this system is against the American Constitution and against God. And we did that."

A message of unity is not always delivered, according to Peter Skerry of the Brookings Institution. He said it can be difficult for Muslim youth to assimilate into mainstream American society because they do not always have good examples. 

"Muslim American leaders are not positioning themselves very well to speak to Muslim American youth or to Muslim Americans generally," he said. "They are twisting and contorting themselves in several different directions that just undermines their position."

Those shifting messages may be tempered by watchful eyes at home, parenting experts say. Masood Khan and his wife have four young kids, and they say they're mindful of the potential for their children to be exposed to radical influences on the Internet.

"My wife is very strict on these things, and we know what they’re doing," Khan said. "All of my four kids, two daughters and two sons, whatever they’re doing on the Internet and on computer, they’re being monitored."

Khan said parents should remain engaged with their children and that the kids should be encouraged to maintain a balance between their religious and social activities.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 22, 2013 2:56 AM
I agree every child has opportunities to be used to spread violence if he or she has some emotional stress. But I suppose Islamists, if they are defined as those who believe in Koran, feel inclined to deserve death in Jihad. The problem seems what means Jihad. If it is the fight whatever aginst any teachings of Allah, it would have more risks to spread violence. There are diverse beliefs around the world. Generousity as well as the loyalty to the teacings seem needed to all of us.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs