Islamic Education in the United States
and Canada: Conception and Practice
of the Islamic Belief System
Nimat Hafez Barazangi
This chapter examines the way immigrant Muslim parents and their offspring perceive Islam and view its practice in the context of the societies of the United States and Canada. 1
Historically and at present the worldview of North American Muslims has generally differed from that of other groups who are either natives of or immigrants to North America. Yet not until recently 2 has any substantial research been done on the presence of Muslims in North America, let alone on their learning patterns or the role of their different worldviews in the education of their children.
Four underlying propositions are central to this chapter and to the contrast between the Islamic 3 and Western worldviews:
1. It is possible for North American Muslims, or any believing group, to maintain their view of life within a society that operates, or seems to operate, on a secular 4 basis. 2. As long as a belief system does not remain merely a set of assumptions, but is objectified, 5 as the Islamic belief system should be, the perception of such a belief system should be studied in context and not as a set of abstract codes. 3. Shifting between paradigms, in this case from the Islamic view of life to its Western counterpart, is also possible. Basically, the gap between the two paradigms is viewed here as being resolvable by the way the issues are approached. That is, instead of judging the values or the moral codes, symbols, or rituals that are being transmitted or discussed within the two paradigms, I address the transmission process of a generally