Where Are Our Imams? We need you

Whilst we are at it, isn’t it time that mosques had an overhaul too? People on the outside – and young Muslims – see them as rather odd places where elderly Muslims go to…do what exactly? They aren’t sure but bemusement and suspicion is now turning to hostility. Today, Muslims need mosques to act as the hub of the community; a place where people of all ages feel welcome and can learn and access resources. A bit like a library. Ten years ago libraries changed when they got the Internet, started book groups and social clubs and became much more about meeting wider community needs. Mosques could do the same and perhaps the Imams should hold weekly or bi-monthly youth programmes there, where guest speakers from authority such as police, education, military etc., are invited and youngsters are encouraged to meet and talk to them. Such activities are needed to attract the youth and educate them not only on religion but to help them understand and feel at home in their country, their world. The leaders could talk about all kinds of topics; jobs, education, confusion over their religion and yes… lets get it out in the open – Syria, radicalization, and why the war is going on and why it is not the duty of young British Muslims to go out there and risk their lives.

It is vital that the Imams are able to communicate and be approachable to youngsters. As I went to press send on this article, I read that an Imam was murdered in Rochdale by two young radicals who didn’t agree with the way he practised his faith. If we are to prevent more bloodshed, the conversations and openness between different generations of Muslims needs to start right now.

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