Date Approved

4-5-2018

Embargo Period

4-5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Higher Education

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Sisco, Burton R.

Second Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth

Subject(s)

Identification (Religion); Muslim college students

Disciplines

Higher Education

Abstract

The study sought to gain a better understanding of the religious development and sense of belonging of selected Rowan University Muslim-American students. A mixed-method approach was employed using David Bell's (2009) Religious Identity Status Scale along with an audio interview based on the concept mattering. A convenience sample of 18 students completed the survey and 8 students participated in the interview. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze all quantitative data employing descriptive statistics. The Religious Identity Status Scale assessed students based on four modes of identity--Diffusion, Foreclosure, Moratorium, and Integration. Findings suggest a high level of Identity Integration followed by Identity Foreclosure, which showed that participants felt a strong level of confidence in their Muslim faith. The findings support previous studies (Bradford, 2008; Peek, 2005) that argue that Muslim identity becomes more salient and seen as a positive reaction to negative attention in the media and society. The data also support Fowler (1981) and Daloz-Parks (2000) studies of religious identity. The interviews showed that students felt a high level of marginalization and discrimination, with physical appearance of being Muslim a constant theme.

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