#ISNAstories: Understanding the Line Between Faith and Culture in the U.S.


Last month over 15,000 people attended the 51st Annual Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention in Detroit’s Cobo Center. The event included a keynote address from President Jimmy Carter, an art gallery featuring Muslim artists, and a number of discussions surrounding this year’s theme - “GenerationsRise: Elevating Muslim American Culture.” 


WDET worked with local volunteers to capture #ISNAstories of those who attended.

We heard from a range of people, both young and old, about how being in the United States has impacted their faith and culture. Praveen Mohammed shares the difference between how she and her children learned about Islam. 


Many of the young Muslims we spoke to agreed. The difference between the way their parents learned about the faith and the way they practice Islam today is all based on a misunderstanding of what is a cultural practice versus a religious custom. Merium, an attendee of ISNA’s Muslim Youth for North America (MYNA) explains. 


“Overseas religion and culture are very integrated…Because we’re growing up [in the U.S.], in a culture, in a society, that’s very multicultural and multi-ethnic, it’s easier for us to see the line between religion and culture.”

Masood Huq offers a different opinion, sharing how western influences have impacted more than the just the culture of young Muslims. It has also encourages many to be more inclusive in practicing their faith. 

The ISNA Convention hosted a set of interfaith dialogues. Conversations took place over how people from various cultures and religious backgrounds can work together in order to strengthen humanitarian efforts. 

For more information about ISNA, visit www.isna.net



Image credit: Salma Arif

This post is a part of Framed by WDET 101.9 FM.

A series of traveling audio-visual exhibitions that integrate photography and audio storytelling to present the stories of ethnic and cultural communities throughout the Detroit region. Produced by WDET 101.9 FM.

This project is supported by individual contributions, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and our series sponsors.



About the Author

Courtney Hurtt

Associate Director of Product Development & Business Operations

Life-long learner with a deep interest in digital storytelling. My job is to keep WDET on the cutting edge of what’s next in media.

courtney.hurtt@wdet.org   Follow @candorblue

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