9/11 has sent tremors across the world. Any and every Muslim is considered a potential Taliabn, an intolerant fanatic. But New Zealand tells a different story. A recent survey shows that Muslim youth are adapting well to life over there.
So much so that have excelled their Pakeha peers - the Pakehas are mostly descended from British and to a lesser extent Irish settlers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Still Muslims integrate better than the Pakehas, it seems. Of course the native Maoris remain the eternal outsiders.
The Victoria University study examined life satisfaction, psychological symptoms, school adjustment and behavioural problems as indicators of psychological and social well-being in 180 Muslim youth, aged 13-19 years.
The study also found that Muslim youth strongly identify as New Zealanders, but it is their identity as Muslim that predicts better psychological and social adaptation.
Professor Colleen Ward from Victoria University's Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research believes that religion, strong family support and the relatively tolerant atmosphere in multicultural New Zealand facilitate psychological and social well-being amongst Muslim youth.
"Immigrant and minority youth thrive when they are able to maintain their religious and cultural traditions and participate in a fair and equitable way in New Zealand society. Integration is beneficial for individuals, communities and wider society," said Professor Ward.
The research was conducted as part of a Foundation for Research, Science and Technology funded project, 'Youth Voices, Youth Choices.'