Thea Abu El-Haj headshot


On August 2, 2021, Thea Abu El-Haj, professor of education and Education Program Director/Chair published new research, titled “‘Muslims are Finally waking up’: post-9/11 American immigrant youth challenge conditional citizenship” alongside Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Michelle Fine, and Roozbeh Shirazi. The article, published in the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, investigates the concept of “conditional citizenship.”  “Conditional citizenship” is a term that refers to how Muslims in non-Muslim majority countries, like the United States, tend to be viewed as “aliens” who are granted “tenuous forms of belonging” on the condition that they adhere to the majority’s image of a “Good Muslim.” 

By focusing specifically on youth from Muslim immigrant communities in the United States, Professor Abu El-Haj investigates the generational shift in attitudes towards this “conditional citizenship,” finding that young Muslim Americans have begun to reject the concept entirely. Based on these findings, Professor Abu El-Haj et al. conclude that since 9/11, Muslim American youth have undergone a significant change in self-identification, causing them to reject “conditional citizenship,” and build unity with other communities of color.