It was 2006 when I started teaching the senior students at Universal School in Bridgeview. Every year was an amazing one, teaching such bright students who have become the pioneers of their fields today. I always tried to enrich the students’ minds through discussions that related to their reality and connecting that to the themes in Islam as a faith. The generation gap issue between the elders and their perception of Islam in America versus the one that is viewed by the American-born younger generation was always a hot topic discussion.
I remember a student calling the older generation “FOBs” and said they should rest and leave it for the younger American-born kids who know the culture and can relate better to the issues. Another student replied: “Are you telling your dad who raised you and was one of the ones who established all these institutions for you to benefit from, that he cannot relate to the issues Muslims are facing in the West?”
We can take the heat from Islam-haters meaning to harm our community, we can tolerate injustices from some biased employees in government agencies against individuals or communities at large, but I believe the most challenging matter to our community is the idea of a Muslim group discrediting another group based on age, culture or generation gap!