Mosque and Indentity Formation of Muslim Adolescents in TheUnited States A Somali Case in Columbus Ohio

Yıldırım F.

DOKUZ EYLÜL ÜNİVERSİTESİ İLAHİYAT FAKÜLTESİ DERGİSİ, no.44, pp.123-153, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


This article examines the role of the mosque in identity formation among Somali adolescents in Columbus, Ohio. The research was conducted at a large, ethnically Somali mosque in Columbus, utilizing the methods of participant observation and ethnographic interviewing. Two main trends were observed in adolescent Somali American identity formation. One trend was for research participants to cultivate a distinctly Muslim American identity by integrating their Somali ethnic, American, and Islamic identities. Mosque participation played a key role in their ability and willingness to synthesize these identities. However, adolescents in this group could be divided into two opposing subcategories as integrating to the American society with their Muslim salient identity versus distancing away from the American culture and society. The second over-arching trend that emerged in the research was for Somali American adolescents to experience identity conflict between their Muslim, Somali, and American identities. This group, unlike the first, struggled and failed to reconcile the various norms and commitments of these identities and it seemed that mosque participation deepened this identity struggle for adolescents in this group.