On May 27, 2023 the Islamic Circle of North America kicked off its 48th annual ICNA Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland. There was an estimated 20,000 attendees. ICNA, an American grassroots umbrella organization, represents diverse Muslim American individuals and organizations of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. According to their vision statement, ICNA strives to be an innovative, agile, and credible source of institutional support. Their goal is to for Muslims to connect with Allah (God), other individuals, and the community. They have chapters in major cities across the country, including the Bay Area, Houston, and Atlanta.
At the 48th annual ICNA Convention this past Memorial Day weekend, the Islamic Center of North America announced its findings of their recent survey conducted online by the Harris Poll: The Family Values and Gender Roles Snapshot. According to ICNA, “This survey provides valuable insight into the attitudes and beliefs of Americans as we delve into the realms of faith, changing norms, and their profound impact on our society.” The following were the results of the survey.
Change in Social Norms
This study found that 74% of Americans believe that shifting social norms have made marriage less appealing to younger generations. Interestingly, there was a generational gap that revealed diverse perspectives on marriage. While 80% of Americans aged 65 and older concurred with this statement, only 72% of Americans between 18-24 years old shared this sentiment.
The Role of Faith: Insight From Religious Communities
This study on the behalf of the Islamic Circle of North America by the Harris Poll also explored the role of religion and traditional family values on divorce. Regarding the impact of traditional family values on divorce rates, two-thirds of Americans (67%) believe that the lack of commitment to these values will lead to an increase in divorce rates, with 29% strongly agreeing. The data suggests that Americans aged 55+ (69%) are more likely to agree compared to those aged 18-34 (62%), indicating differing generational perspectives on the connection between traditional family values and divorce rates.
The study also explores the influence of individualism and changing gender roles on traditional family values. A majority of Americans (64%) believe that individualism in American culture has contributed to the decline of these values, with 23% strongly agreeing. Men are more likely than women to strongly agree with this statement (25% vs. 21%), indicating diverse perspectives on the relationship between individualism and traditional family values.
The Influence of Individualism and Gender Roles on Traditional Family Values
Religious beliefs also play a significant role in shaping opinions on the impact of individualism and changing gender roles. A substantial 68% of religious Americans agree with the decline of traditional family values due to individualism. While only 53% of non-religious individuals share the same sentiment. Similarly, when examining the decline of traditional family values due to changing attitudes towards gender roles,. We can see 63% of Americans believe it to be a contributing factor. Men are more likely than women to agree with this statement (67% vs. 59%), with almost one-third of men (32%) strongly agreeing compared to 23% of women.
Overall, the study highlights the importance of religion in upholding traditional family values and how religious beliefs significantly shape perspectives on these matters. It also suggests that generational differences and varying attitudes towards individualism and changing gender roles contribute to the evolving landscape of traditional family values in American society.
Why is this Study Important?
The findings of the survey on family values and gender roles hold significant importance for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and its mission of promoting Islamic values and community development in North America. As a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a strong sense of faith and family within the Muslim community, understanding the perspectives and attitudes towards traditional family values and gender roles is crucial for ICNA to effectively address the needs and concerns of its members.
The survey reveals that a substantial majority of Americans recognize the importance of religion in upholding traditional family values. A significant percentage strongly agrees with this sentiment. This aligns with ICNA’s core values and provides affirmation. Religion plays a vital role in preserving the values that ICNA aims to promote.
Furthermore, the study highlights the influence of religious beliefs on shaping opinions regarding family values. The high level of agreement among religious Americans underscores the significance of religious conviction in upholding traditional family values. This insight can guide ICNA in tailoring its programs and initiatives. The aim is to reinforce the connection between religious beliefs and family values within the Muslim community.
The study also sheds light on the impact of changing societal dynamics. We see this through individualism and evolving gender roles, on traditional family values. By understanding the perceptions and concerns surrounding these factors, ICNA can address the challenges faced by its community members and offer support in navigating the complexities of modern society while staying true to Islamic teachings.
Additionally, the generational differences highlighted in the survey findings provide the insight for the Islamic Center of North America to adapt its strategies to effectively engage with different age groups. The varying perspectives and beliefs among different generations call for a nuanced approach in addressing the concerns related to family values and gender roles within the Muslim community.
Overall, the survey provides valuable insights into the attitudes and beliefs of Americans regarding family values and gender roles. These findings are crucial for ICNA to develop targeted initiatives, educational programs, and support systems that align with the needs and expectations of its community members. By recognizing the importance of religion, understanding the impact of societal dynamics, and adapting to generational differences, ICNA can play a significant role in preserving traditional family values and promoting a strong sense of faith and community among Muslim Americans.