Youth identity formation in the presence of the 'other': Reflections on being young and Muslim in an interfaith setting

Mehmet Ozalp, Kulsoom Siddiqi

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


There are three main objectives of this chapter. First, is to identify and research the possibility for Australian youth to hold a pluralistic social identity in contemporary Australian society. Second, is to examine the effect of interfaith experience in generating discernible changes in the intercultural and interfaith literacy of high school aged youth. Third, is to highlight the educational value of interfaith and intercultural studies in preparing students for life and equipping them to deal positively with issues threatening social harmony in a modern society. In each case, there is concentration, albeit not exclusive, on female youth. The research involved Muslim, Jewish and Christian high school students taking part in the 'Youth Encounters' Project and was conducted in four stages: (1) 'Youth Encounters' pre-event questionnaire; (2) Observation; (3) 'Youth Encounters' post-event questionnaire; and, (4) Focus group interviews. The research methods were performed in this order so as to gauge the identity of the youth but also to seek any change in perception which an individual may have towards the other and the experience gained from participating in 'Youth Encounters'. We have found is that interfaith interaction not only allowed for the dismissing of generalisations and stereotypes which an individual may have of another faith but, moreover, the event also allowed the youth to reaffirm their identity and explain how, through being able to practise their faith and tradition, their success in living comfortably as an Australian in contemporary society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen in Islam
Subtitle of host publicationReflections on historical and contemporary research
EditorsTerrence Lovat
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9789400742192
ISBN (Print)9789400742185
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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