By Tim Townsend
ST. LOUIS – At just 27 years old, Asif Umar is the new imam of Daar-ul-Islam mosque, the largest mosque in the St. Louis area. The son of Indian immigrants is devoted to the city’s sports teams, marking the end of Ramadan with a St. Louis Blues hockey game.
He also represents the ascendance of a distinctly American brand of Islam, a new generation of Muslim Americans who were born in the United States and who spent their teenage years in the often uncomfortable glare of the post-9/11 spotlight.
Immigrant parents of American-born Muslims who once insisted that their children become doctors and engineers have begun relaxing those expectations for a new crop of young Muslim-American scholars who feel drawn to be faith leaders, said Yvonne Haddad, a professor of the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University. [Read more…]