Religion serves a special function in adolescents’ virtue development because it can provide youth with a self-transcendent identity that gives them purpose and meaning that is essential for their thriving. However, there is an urgent need to adopt a contextualized approach to the study of this identity, particularly for religious minority adolescents such as Muslim American youth, so we ask, how does the Muslim American community cultivate youths' virtue development, and how can we form and equip a community of practice that promotes virtue development?
We hypothesize that we can answer this question by adopting the scholar-practitioner model of research and launching a community of practice through virtual webinars to establish trust, a common language, and a list of current activities. We further ask, which virtue formation strategies are effective, for which youth, and in which contexts?
Based on the best practices that emerge from the community of practice, we will conduct six focus groups and a one-and-a-half-year longitudinal research study to empirically test the community’s hypotheses. The goals of the study are to understand how Muslim adolescents’ virtues develop across adolescence, how communities foster their virtues, and the mechanisms underlying their development while attending to regional and ethnic within-group differences in the community.
Finally, we will disseminate findings from the study to further equip the community of practice and work with the community to create a broader dissemination strategy to bridge gaps between different faiths and correct anti-Muslim narratives. Outputs include a Muslim American community of practice, a synthesis report on best practices, 4-6 journal articles, a virtue development resource for the Muslim American community, a broader dissemination strategy, trained Muslim scholars to conduct research on virtues, and popular press articles to redress common misconceptions on Muslim American adolescents’ flourishing.