Mesut Duran is a Professor of Technology at the College of Education, Health and Human Services at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
I think the greatest struggle for me is how to raise Muslim kids in this country—both my own children and on a larger scale other Muslim kids because I serve on the Board of Trustees of a local Muslim school, Crescent Academy International. These children are challenged in multiple ways. On one hand, the new generation of Muslims really feel comfortable with their own identity as American Muslims. On the other hand, they live in a society that seems to keep bringing challenges on to them, like the current sociopolitical environment.
We have very good open channels with our children. Our youngest is a high school senior and we have two in college. We have two girls and a boy in the middle. We talk more about these issues with my oldest daughter because she’s entering the field of women’s studies, with a focus on Muslim women in society. We talk about world affairs and issues surrounding the local community. But I don’t know how much she’s sharing some of the burden, that she is experiencing on her own. If you have an evening class on the Ann Arbor campus, do you need to call your parents while you’re walking? Maybe it’s typical young adult behavior, or maybe she feels a little bit unsafe so she calls so she feels like someone is with her during that walk.
She’s very open-minded and outspoken. She’s a real social activist as far as I am concerned. We talk about issues related to the U.S. and the Middle East in general, and world affairs in a larger context. I’m seeing that she’s forming a different mindset and opinion than me, perhaps because she has a different educational system that she’s going through, different environment, different friends, different schooling, and different college experience. I think she’s more liberal than I am, which is good actually.