“Like any other religion, Islam has at its core honesty, integrity, and respect,” Said explains. “I have great friends from many different backgrounds, and I found that all religions have the same core values.”
Living in Ann Arbor for almost forty years has only strengthened the family’s religion. “We’re secularly religious but very observant,” Said says. “A lot of the traditional ways are very much practiced in our community and adhered to more maybe here than back in the old country.”
“We keep our culture and blend it with the good American culture,” Anwar says: “how people care for each other, how they like to volunteer, how they value higher education.”
“My kids have cultural differences from kids in the Middle East,” says Said. “How my parents treated their daughters is different from how I view my kids. My daughters’ independence might be seen as rebellion by people from my parents’ generation, but I see it as personal growth.
“My sisters are all homemakers, a very important job, but women of my kids’ generation are seeking higher education. It’s more of a generational gap—and it’s no different really from Western culture.”