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The two found each other through mutual friends—she had been working in public health in Philly, while he was in non-profits in New York City.
Khan said she cares a lot about certain Muslim traditions, like fasting on Ramadan, but she’s not that observant during the rest of the year.
“They’re like, ‘Oh, the rabbis are panicking, so we should also be panicking.’”* * *Sana Khan, 27, and Yusuf Siddiquee, 29, both grew up in households they describe as rigid, “where you have to be Muslim and there’s no questioning it,” Khan said.
She didn’t attend an Islamic school or worship at a mosque; Islam was just part of the environment in her diverse neighborhood in Queens.
“Also just future planning: What kind of household I want; the holidays I want to celebrate.” Siddiquee felt similarly: Even though he doesn’t really practice anymore, he said, “for someone to really understand me, they’re going to need to have some level of knowledge and comfort when it comes to these religious issues.” In the lead up to their wedding this fall, the two had only minor friction with their families over religion, even though both sets of parents are more observant than they are.
Although there was some disagreement about how the couple planned their , or Islamic marriage ceremony, they mostly avoided conflict by not really talking about Islam.
Immigrants understand the country differently than people who have been in the U. for generations; black Muslims encounter distinctive kinds of discrimination and have particular communal needs.
As a group, Muslims are extremely diverse, and their experiences reflect that diversity.
For Siddiquee, living in the Midwest meant his parents emphasized being Muslim—and being different.
“If I had to re-write that, I would probably de-emphasize it, but that’s the reality,” he said.
“There is an incredible difference between the students and the parents in how they’re thinking about American Muslim identity,” he said.
“The parents want to invest on the Muslim side of that hyphenated identity—they are really worried for certain aspects of that identity to be preserved.” Most students, however, “are negotiating and brainstorming on the American side.” There’s some evidence behind the anxiety: Less than half of Muslims under 40 visit a mosque each week, according to Pew Research Center, and only one-third of Muslims under 30 pray five times a day in keeping with traditional Islamic practice.
She hoped she’d end up with someone Muslim anyways.