Muslims Nusantara in America: Nurturing a Hybrid American Muslim Youth Identities

21 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2017

See all articles by Aini Firdaus

Aini Firdaus

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)

Muhammad Rahman

President University

Date Written: December 18, 2017


This paper studies the discursive construction of Islamic and civic identities among Indonesian Muslims in the United States. There has been a hybridity process where the background identity of Islam Nusantara which emphasizes on moderation, harmony, and Islamic manners is continuously maintained and reinvented but at the same time it needs to be readjusted with a modern, civil and progressive America. Moreover, being Muslims Nusantara has been a unique experience in itself. In a sense, that Islam came peacefully and became the religion of a pluralistic society of Nusantara through trade and cultural means without dismissing any traditional pearls of wisdom. As a result, it created a complex religious and civic identity of Muslims Nusantara. This research uses a purposive sampling technique by focusing on individuals and families within the Muslim Nusantara networks who embrace Islamic identities publicly and assertively. The paper starts by providing a historical and demographic description of Muslims Nusantara in America. Then, it analyzes the discursive construction of their identities through the religious education conducted within the family, informal groups and formal institutions such as schools and Islamic centers. Three main areas are being addressed: their engagement with the capitalist economic system, secular democracy and nationalism, and modern/traditional cultures. This analysis resulted in several typologies of how Muslims Nusantara in America is expressing their identities. Finally, it ends with an assessment of to what extent that this case study can contribute to a further discussion on nurturing a positive hybrid American Muslim Youth identity.

Keywords: Muslims Nusantara, hybrid youth identities, Islam in America, religious education, globalization

Suggested Citation

Firdaus, Aini and Rahman, Muhammad, Muslims Nusantara in America: Nurturing a Hybrid American Muslim Youth Identities (December 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Aini Firdaus (Contact Author)

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) ( email )

Bulaksumur, Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta, Special Province of Yogyakarta

Muhammad Rahman

President University ( email )

Kota Jababeka

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