Family and Gender among American Muslims Issues Facing Middle Eastern Immigrants and Their Descendants by Barbara C. Aswad and Barbara Bilge (eds.), Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996.

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Juliane Hammer

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Abstract

Family and Gender among American Muslims presents a multitude of theoretical
and empirical discussions about the issues of family and gender in various
American Muslim communities.
Divided into three main sections, the first section, "Values, Structure, and
Variations in Muslim Families" presents articles based on empirical research
on issues such as the role of women in an Iranian ethnic economy, the selfevaluation
of Palestinian women's lives, the issue of mut'a-marriage among
Lebanese Shi'as, and the problems of South Asian Muslim families in the
United States. The second section, "Practical Issues for Families,'' provides
insight into health issues, the work of an Arab-American community center,
care for the elderly and problems of second-generation Arabs with marriage
and role conflicts. The third section presents an interesting account of five
Muslim immigrants, as narrated by them.
The book is an insightful introduction into some of the problems faced by
American Mu Jim immigrants and their children on a daily basis. The questions
of how to preserve an ethnic and religious identity in a society that has
different values and mies is central to the lives of these American Muslims. It
is a recurring theme running throughout most articles and illustrated in different
ways. Some of the authors highlight problems and make recommendations
to parents, community leaders, teachers, and social workers on how to solve
these problems.
The first article by Yvonne Y. Haddad and Jane I. Smith gives an overview
of the important topics concerning Islamic values and the questions of gender,
such as dating, marriage, women and work, birth control, raising of children,
and the observation of American holidays. The authors present a realistic ...

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