The Approach of the Fiqh Council of North America towards Identity Problems of Contemporary Muslim Minorities

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Sümeyra Yakar Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, Iğdır University Iğdır Turkey

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Emine Enise Yakar Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Rize Turkey

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The status of being a Muslim minority in a non-Muslim country has obtained public and international attention with the consequence of globalization and immigration in the contemporary world. The increasing rate of immigration to the United States after the 1980s resulted in a new identity that mainly includes two main ingredients: Muslim identity and American identity. Especially, the following generation of the first immigrants has unexpectedly confronted the issue of an identity crisis ensuing from the simultaneous belonging to American and Muslim identities. With permanent settlement and acquiring American citizenship, Muslim Americans have shouldered dual responsibilities and duties. Occasionally, the dual identity of Muslim Americans has resulted in clashes between the religious and citizenship responsibilities. The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), a voluntarily established fatwā institution, tries to find Islamic legal solutions to that of American Muslims’ paradoxical predicaments. In the light of particular fatwās (legal opinion) issued by the FCNA, this paper will analyse how the identity crises of Muslim Americans are resolved; which Islamic legal methodologies are predominantly deployed to obliterate the mundane and religious paradoxes of those Muslim Americans; and whether the preponderance is given to American identity or Muslim identity by the FCNA.

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