EXPLORING YOUNG MUSLIMS’ VIEWS
A new report examining the views of young Muslims in Ipswich and Suffolk has been published this week. Entitled “Exploring Young Muslims' Views” – it was compiled by Mojlum Khan, a Suffolk-based Muslim and launched before an invited audience of local Muslims, senior representatives of local statutory bodies and others, at Suffolk College on Tuesday 27th March.
Mojlum is closely connected to the Ipswich Mosques. He is the Development Manager at the Bangladeshi Support Centre and he also serves as a visiting Imam at a Young Offenders’ Institution. He spent a year interviewing young Muslims for the report, which was commissioned by the Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource (SIFRE) and funded by the Suffolk Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council.
The report found that: young Muslim men and women living in Suffolk clearly think of themselves firstly as Muslim or British Muslim, whatever their racial background. This self-identification is a very important aspect of their attitude to their lives and to events both locally and internationally. Professor Albert Weale of Essex University, who chaired the research advisory panel, commented that within the equality agenda faith has in the past been the poor relation. Local agencies need to take this dimension seriously when tailoring their approach to different communities.
One of the very practical matters highlighted by the research was the need for alcohol free zones where Muslims and other young people can meet for social interaction.
The research, which involved interviews with young Suffolk-born Muslims and others from around the UK but currently at the YOI, also found these young Muslim people to be knowledgeable about our wider society and wanting to be part of it. The researcher and those who responded to the report noted the openness and honesty of the young Muslims. It was vital that they should not feel their voice was ignored. While not necessarily sharing the same perspectives the audience were invited to act as critical friends and to enter into an ongoing dialogue. Professor Weale emphasised that it was the duty of all citizens to ask hard questions.
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