The conflict between Islam and the West is as disturbing on the outside, as it polarizes the world, as it is on the inside, when it divides families and causes enormous stress to Muslims living in the West. A mutual understanding is the answer to both of these conflicts. This work enhances the West's understanding of Muslim minorities and helps Muslims to understand their own identity problem in Western culture. Ultimately, Professor Akhtar delineates how Muslim families can integrate into Western society in a creative way that will benefit their families and society-at-large. Muslim Family in a Dilemma provides empirical examinations of many problems in the Muslim family in the U.S. and Europe, such as divorce, mental health, and the abuse of women. One chapter gives a special analysis of the maltreatment of Muslim women in Turkish families in Germany. In regard to these issues and women's equality, the Western position is accepted, and Islam is interpreted in several chapters as reconcilable with this outlook.
Further consistent with the Western position, is what the writer of the last chapter, a Muslim female, has to state: pleasing your wife sexually is a religious obligation in Islam. That is in regard to sex in marriage. However, sex outside of marriage or free sex is irreconcilable to Islam. In a detailed critique of some of the Western practices and anti-family forces, Professor Akhtar determines the mutually exclusive relationship between unrestricted sex and marital integrity. One can have free sex or long-lasting marriage, but not both. He considers extra-marital sex as a paradox of Western culture, as it derives from an overvaluation of sex and overemphasis of individualism and cuts into relationships.
Mohammad Akhtar (Ph.D. Psychology, University of Illinois) is Professor of Psychology at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He is dedicated to examining Muslim issues and solving them within a pluralistic framework in American culture. Inspired by the same theme, he founded and is the current president of the Muslim Council of America. Professor Akhtar is also the founder and was the president of the Islamic Council of Pittsburgh-an umbrella organization of Muslim centers and mosques.
Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Part I: Nature of Family Problems in Western Muslims Chapter 3 A Peek into the Mind of Muslim Youths Chapter 4 How Do Muslims in North American Divorce? Chapter 5 Muslim Women's Struggle for a Dignified Family Role Part 6 Part II: Reconciling the Conflicts of Islam and the West Chapter 7 Women: Identitcal or Similar (Women's Place in Islam) Chapter 8 Family Issues of the Western Culture: Perceptions and Perspectives Chapter 9 Identity Conflict for Muslims in the West Part 10 Part III: Islam as Support for Muslim Family in the West Chapter 11 Islam and Living in the West: Challenge of Cross-Cultural Chapter 12 Marital and Family Relationships in Islam Part 13 About the Editor and Contributors Part 14 Subject Index