bringing the muslim youth work community together January 2009 | Issue 3
'Young Muslims Beacon Awards' The Muslim Council of Britain's Youth Committee award three national projects
'Project of this Issue' CKI School of Martial Arts - providing a community service for over 20 years
'Muslim Teenger Tour' Ceating a 'safe space' for young people to explore and debate prevelant issues
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Projects 5 Young Muslims Beacon Awards 8 CKI School of Martial Arts 14 Muslim Teenager Tour General 6 Study on police - community partnership for countering terrorism 11 Towards a Definition of Muslim Youth Work - part 2 12 Interview with Youth & Community Worker 13 Introduction to Muslim Youth Work courses 15 Forthcoming Courses
Editorial Team Atheeq Akbar Dr. Irfan Bashir Kosar Nzeribe Robina Mohammad
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Issue 3 Assalamu Alaikum and welcome to Issue 3 of Connect. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for supporting ‘Connect’ as an initiative and I invite others to join us in our work. Our distribution list is increasing almost on a daily basis and we would like to extend an invitation to anyone that wants to keep abreast of developments and emerging practice in this field to contact us. I have often been asked about how ‘Connect’ is funded. Connect is an initiative funded entirely by Muslim Youth Skills and does not receive funding from anywhere. Revenue is usually generated from projects who pay an administration fee to be featured in Connect (if they can afford that) and individuals and organisations who advertise. We would therefore encourage individuals and organisations to advertise in this newsletter to help sustain this initiative. If you like the work we do and would like to help contribute to its success, please get in touch. We have got some great projects in this issue highlighting some excellent examples of current practice. Much is written about the issues that affect young Muslims, but rarely do they get the opportunity to contribute to ‘setting the agenda’ for themselves. The Muslim Teenager event, organised by the Young Muslims UK gave them just that. Many young Muslims attended consultattive workshops in two areas across London, to share their thoughts and opinions on matters important to them, but crucially, proposing some of the things that they would like to see happen in any future work with them. Celebrating the tireless work done by organisations to empower young Muslims is something that is increasingly being recognised. The Youth Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain held its Young Muslims Beacons Award, to present prestigious awards to three organisations, out of the many projects which poured in from all over the country.
I am sure that you will remember this line from a famous all time favourite movie of mine ‘wax on, wax off’’ (answers on a post card please). The CKI School of Martial Arts not only helps young people to practice this fine art of waxing, but also endeavours to help young people achieve good morals, etiquette and respect for others. The club has won many international awards, setting very high standards for others to follow. In this issues we are also introducing ‘In-Focus’. This section will look at the life and times of the unsung heroes, who provide invaluable services within our communities. Abida Rafiq, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, talks to Connect about some of her work.
This issue has part 2 of 'Muslim Youth Work' by Sadek Hamid of Chester University and we also provide details of a new study: ‘Police - Community Engagement and Partnership for Countering Terrorism’ that sheds light on police-community partnerships for countering terrorism, from the perspective of police practitioners and members of Muslim communities. I hope you enjoy this issue and I welcome your views and suggestions. I hope that insha’ Allah (God-willing) we can all continue to help ‘bring the Muslim Youth Work Community together’.
Tafazal Mohammad Managing Director Muslim Youth Skills
Disclaimer Connect is a project of Muslim Youth Skills. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of material published in this newsletter, Connect cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions or endorse organisations, products or services that appear in this newsletter. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the publisher.
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Young Muslims Beacon Awards Only three projects were selected for the prestigous awards out of the numerous projects that poured in from all over the country At the Affiliates Youth Conference, Muslim Council of Britainâ€™s Youth Committee presented the Young Muslim Beacons Awards 2008 at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund in Westminster on Wednesday 29th October 2008. Lord Ahmed of Rotherham and Dr Daud Abdullah, Deputy Secretary General of the MCB presented the trophies to the winning Beacon Projects. The Beacons awards aimed at recognising and celebrating the achievements of three Muslim youth projects and organisations which have made a real and meaningful difference to the lives of young Muslims in their local communities, the country and beyond. Out of the numerous applications which poured in from all over the country, only three organisations were selected. The awards went to The Federation of Muslim Organisations Youth Awards in Leicester, PEACE Youth project in London and to the AMR in Preston. All three organisations and projects have distinctively made a real contribution in helping young Muslims to deal with some of the challenges facing the community as well as aiding youngsters to overcome these challenges. In his keynote speech Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE, the Secretary General of the MCB highlighted MCB's vision of empowering young Muslims to lead the community and create a better Britain for all. On receiving the award, Riyaz Layer, from the Federation of Muslim Organisations said "it is an honour to receive this prestigious award from the MCB. We have worked to recognise the work of young Muslims as have the MCB. These awards will inshaAllah (God willing) drive other similar organisations to actively work for the community." Kawsar Zaman, the Vice-Chair of the Youth Committee, who co-ordinated the Young Muslim Beacons Award 2008 said "the three recipients of the awards have all contributed immensely to the lives of young Muslims in their communities and I hope this will encourage and indeed inspire other young people to actively work in their communities."
Want to share your project? We are always looking for projects that we can feature in Connect. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org 5 | connected | October 2008
Police - Community Engagement and Partnership for Countering Terrorism Basia Spalek, Salwa El Awa & Laura Zahra McDonald A new study has shed light on police-community partnership for countering terrorism, from the perspective of police practitioners and members of Muslim communities. Under the auspices of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the qualitative study was undertaken by academics at the University of Birmingham - Dr Basia Spalek, Dr Salwa El Awa and Dr Laura Zahra McDonald – with ex-Special Branch officer Robert Lambert MBE of the Universities of Exeter and St Andrews as consultant. The research found that an understanding of Islam and the recognition of faith identities, as well as community knowledge, action and support of counter-terrorism work are all vital to its long-term success, particularly with regard to the Prevent and Pursue strands of the government’s post 7/7 security programme ‘CONTEST’. However, the current climate of tension and suspicion felt by many members of Muslim communities, and the negative impact of ‘hard’ policing approaches - including increased stop and search, non-conviction and high profile raids, and the perception of an increase in aggressive attempts at recruiting informers - are creating barriers to good police-community relations, and subsequent partnership. The research explores this tension within counterterrorism policy, and suggests ways to develop better strategies as evidenced by good practice found within some policing units, in which communities are viewed as partners rather than suspects, and are enabled to work with police towards a common goal of secure, empowered communities. The study suggests that a shift in normative practice to include and assist Muslim communities would also necessitate a rethink around the discourse of ‘New Terror’ – the belief that counterterrorism work in now operating against a new and unprecedented form of ‘Islamic’ terrorism, separate and unlike previous acts of violence. Providing a critique of this scenario, and highlighting its potential reduction of police effectiveness, including the increased disaffection of Muslim communities, the research looks at the evidence presented by police officers and community members regarding the safeguarding of community policing and counterterrorism. A central aspect of the study relates to the importance of recognizing and connecting with effective partners from Muslim communities, including those usually ignored or marginalized such as women, young people and those deemed politically or theologically ‘radical’. In relation to young people, a review of the literature relating to terrorism and counter-terrorism studies reveals a highly disconnected, othering stance towards young Muslim men in particular. This is to varying extents reflected in the engagement and disengagement between Muslim young people and the police. The research found evidence of best practice and a willingness by some units and individual police officers to work in innovative and inclusive ways with youth workers and young people. In particular, partnership building with youth-focussed, grassroots organisations – especially those categorised as ‘radical’, for example those labeled ‘Salafi’ or ‘Islamist’ - appear to be successfully intervening at several levels to prevent violence. Muslim youth workers, specifically those able and willing to deal with the most challenging issues and which are of direct relevance to security, have been found to be ideal partners in counter-terrorism work. 6 | connected | October 2008
The study therefore suggests that more support is needed to foster such engagement, from a governmental, policy level. Currently, the taboo around working with those deemed ‘radical’, as well as the profiling of young Muslim men with particular ethnic heritages or economic backgrounds as ‘potentials’, is limiting such work. Evidence gathered from participants in the project also highlights that the pathologising of Muslim youth through ‘hard’ counter-terrorism practices and New Terror discourses is increasing the high sense of alienation experienced by many young people, and therefore decreasing the likelihood of positive engagement. It was also suggested by some research participants – police officers and community members – that this polarizing atmosphere may also contribute to the complex process of violent radicalisation. With regards to the ‘youth question’ the research draws a number of conclusions, most notably the need for those in powerful positions, including government, policy makers and the police, to listen to the experiences and grievances of young Muslims of all backgrounds and interpretations of faith, and connect with them through grassroots organizations, particularly Muslim youth workers, whose expertise is paramount for effective, positive engagement for the prevention of violence. For further information, please get in touch with Laura: email@example.com
Want to advertise in Connect and reach out to the Muslim community? If you wish to discuss advertising possibilities, please contact us on:
0845 6520751 Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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CKI School of Martial Arts Dr. Irfan interviews Chief Coach Ismail Saleh of CKI
On the biggest issues or challenges which the Muslim Youth are facing Ismail emphasises that the biggest issues and challenges which Muslim youth face today – from his experience – are drug and alcohol abuse. Ismail encounters individuals with these very issues on a regular basis. In addition, the martial arts classes, the instructors use a number of counselling and mentoring techniques to provide individuals with the tools and confidence to move forwards. Generally, Ismail emphasises that to attempt to better the circumstances for the Muslim youth the parents – despite their heavy work and social demands - need to provide more quality time and attention with their children. Best and worst moments
Ismail Saleh - Chief Coach and Project Manager of Leicester-based CKI School of Martial Arts has been providing a community service for over 20 years to its member base of 900 – over 450 of which are female! Furthermore, the members consist of: Muslim and non-Muslim, Professionals and even Alims (Muslim Scholars)!! How and why did you join or set-up the School?
Two of Ismail’s best moments include when the School recently won the Queens Award for Volunteer and Community Service for 2008. Secondly, Ismail describes: “We recently took twelve students to the World and National Championships, we brought back eleven gold, nine silver and six bronze medals from the two tournaments, which was a tremendous achievement”
Ismail describes, “I got involved in martial arts as I was suffering from being bullied at school, so I decided to do something about it. I started to learn from Leicester, having moved from Africa when I was young and then regularly travelled to Westminster Abbey to learn from the masters”. After a while, Ismail decided to share his hard-earned knowledge with friends and family, and the rest is history! The School has produced many successful awardwinning students, and won prestigious National awards for its service to the community. Ismail and his team of instructors endeavour to convey to its members the importance of discipline, good morals, etiquette and respect – many of whom are Muslim youth. By doing this, the Muslim youth gain the awareness and confidence to take these values outside into society to help them become positive citizens in their community – and quality ambassadors of Islam.
The worst moment was when Ismail, arriving early for one of his classes, discovered a big leak in the roof which managed to render the whole flooring unusable for that days activities!
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Future plans for the school Surprisingly, the club is non-profit and does not get funding from any group to assist in the running of the School. Each enrolled student pays ÂŁ5 per month in subscription â€“ this, Ismail believes passionately, preserves the easy accessibility of the School. In order to maintain and build on its member-base, the School aims to provide its members with various easy-toaccess activities, including boxing rings and pool tables.
connect "The Muslim Youth Skills newsletter has given all Muslim youth and community organisations a platform to network and learn about each other work. It has enabled the Muslim community and non-Muslim community, funders, local and national government and stakeholders to know about our work in particular and that of other agencies having a similar vision and aim to enable Muslim youth to access services and provision." Anam Hoque Youth Empowerment Scheme
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K. Saira Training & Consultancy Specialist in Employment Law Governance: Development, Management & Strategy 20 Years experience
Experience of work with: Citizen Advice Bureaux, Advice & Law Centres Commission for Racial Equality & Equal Opportunities Commission National Umbrella Voluntary Organisations Ethnic Minority Organisations Housing, Mental Health & Arts Projects Local Authorities Refugee Communities Women’s Aid & Asian Women’s Refuges & Rape Crisis Centres
Charges: sliding scale from £300 to £750 per day Contact Ms K. Saira on: 079 000 906 23 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.ksaira.co.uk
Responding to the needs of young Muslims Making Every Child Matter A series of workshops across the UK helping your organisation achieve the outcomes for the Every Child Matters agenda. Please ring for dates and locations. Sessions will include: • Work with young people • Importance of inclusion • Reality for young Muslims post 7/7 • Faith, culture and spirituality • Making Every Child Matter
The sessions aim to develop essential understanding in order to engage Muslim young people. They are open to everyone, irrespective of background. The course will draw upon the role of religion, culture and spirituality in the lives of Muslim young people and relate this to the Every Child Matters agenda. Delegates will leave with a clearer understanding of some critical issues to consider when planning projects
• Project ideas For further information on the content of the workshops, please visit our web site: www.muslimyouthskills.co.uk/courses/
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Towards a definition of Muslim Youth Work - part 2 Sadek Hamid - Muslim Youth Work Programme Leader, Chester University In Issue 2, Sadek looked at the definition of Muslim Youth Work stating that it integrates faith values, youth work principles and individual worker expertise i.e. a synthesis that is loyal to both the professional youth work values and standards and respectful of the ideals of Islam. In this concluding part, Sadek elaborates on what Muslim Youth Work is and is not.
What Muslim Youth Work is
What it is not
Conceptually: • Faith sensitive • Values based • Recognises spiritual dimension of peoples lives • Promotes the holistic support and development of Muslim youth • Non-judgemental • Specialist
• Overly focused with religious teaching and identity maintenance • Rules based i.e. only concerned with the what is religiously lawful & unlawful • Limits Islam to ritual performances and visual Markers • Value neutral • De-inks faith from identity
Methodologically: • Youth focused-starts with young peoples needs • Strategic • Systematic and evidence based • Solution orientated • Creative • Taps into the length and breadth of Islamic tradition • Reflective
• Excludes the positive potential of faith • Selective • Pre-occupied with recreational activities • Adhoc • Mistakes means for ends • Rigid
In delivery will: • Empower and educate young people • Able to work with all young people • Provides equal opportunity • Promotes social justice • Encourages integration and social cohesion • Make positive difference in young peoples lives • Provide role models
• Empty youth centres-excluded young people irrelevant services • Denies the opportunity to utilise their faith heritage positively • Result in psychological/cultural dissonance • Reinforces alienation and prejudice
These characteristics and strategies represent a vision and the broad parameters of what a professional Muslim youth work approach might look like but, is in many ways work in progress. One must also recognise that British Muslim young people are incredibly diverse in terms of their religiosity, ethnicity, cultures and social backgrounds and hence an effective Muslim youth worker should be able to adapt to these facts as well be able to work successfully with young people who are not Muslim. This is not only an Islamic imperative but a pressing social need; increased community cohesion is for us important an intended outcome of a faith sensitive approach to working with young people. email@example.com
Want to stay connected?Join our e-mail list: firstname.lastname@example.org October 2008 | connected | 11
In-Focus Kosar Nzeribe interviews Abida Rafiq – Youth & Community Worker with a mission who helped win Islam Channels ‘Model Mosque Award’ for Madni Jamia Masjid, Bradford.
Sister Abida, what exactly do you do? I am a Community Resource Worker for Bradford City Council. My voluntary work includes being a member of the Management Committee of Madni Jamia Masjid. I co-ordinate and support the work of 3 sub-groups that are made up of professional young people between the ages of 19-40. I am also a Director of a local Youth and Community Centre, TYCIC, in Bradford.
What influenced you to do the work you do? From a young age, I have had the inclination to be of assistance to others, however little or great, the need was. I feel my purpose in life is to be of benefit to others.
What challenges/goals are you currently facing? As a young Muslim woman I find it hard when some within the Muslim community do not recognise that amongst them are very articulate and influential women. I also feel that there is limited financial support for our work, something which needs to be addressed to affect a real change amongst Muslim youth; our future.
You have been in charge of a 'Connecting Cultures' event for the last 2 years I believe at the 'Model Mosque' in Bradford. Can you tell me little more about this event. The main purpose of this event was to open the doors of our new Masjid. It was a very interactive, thought provoking event, enriched with Islamic Art, interactive workshops, literature etc. Students from primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities came. The event attracted people from up and down the country and has now become a sub-regional event.
What is the best advice you have ever received? To always give shukr (thanks) to Allah The Almighty (SWA)
What has been your best moment? I have been blessed to be part of many successes, winning the Model Mosque Award 2007, which we worked tirelessly for with other like-minded and passionate brothers and sisters. The Connecting Cultures Events have been proud moments too.
Your worst moment? When I have lost patience with myself and others.
What is one of your special talents? Da’wah work (calling to Islam) for the sake of Allah (SWA) 12 | connected | October 2008
What are the greatest challenges of doing the work you do and being female? Sometimes people have questioned my ability to do something, whilst others have put me forward to pioneer and lead projects. Haya (modesty) of a Muslim woman is invaluable and this kind of work can sometimes make you feel exposed. Although I am still single and have a lot of free time, I feel sometimes I neglect my responsibility to my parents/family and compromise too much. Finding that balance is quite a challenge but I’m persevering with it.
What is your definition of success? Success for me is when you pursue something that is of benefit to others and ultimately pleases Allah (SWA). If you would like to be interviewed or would like to nominate someone that you feel has been involved in some innovative grass roots work, then we would like to hear from you. Please contact us: email@example.com
Introduction to Muslim Youth Work December saw many individuals benefit from the Muslim Youth Skills 'Introduction to Muslim Youth Work' course in Bradford, London & Manchester "I did not expect to be given so The demand for such courses within the Muslim community is many references to the Prophet certainly increasing, as it recognises the need to respond to the and the Qur'an - loved it!" ever increasing challenges it finds its young people facing. This type of course not only develops basic awareness around what youth work is and its importance when working with young people, but it also, importantly for ther Muslim community, gives a basis for this work from a faith perspective. If you are an individual or an organisation genuinely interested in helping young people, please get in touch. We will be able to assist and advise you on many important elements of this type of work, including: Policies and Procedure Development – what is needed when setting up youth provision Development of Skills – capacity building of staff and volunteers Practice – how to develop and run successful youth projects Research – analysing needs Seminars & Conferences
"This course is for anyone involved in working with Muslims, especially leaders or senior members of Muslim organisations and Mosques"
Governance of Voluntary & Community Management Boards – policy development & practice Working with Muslim young women & girls – assertiveness & other skills development
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Muslim Teenager Consultative Workshops The Young Muslims UK - facilitating youth action Last December, Heroes 2007 inspired future heroes. This December, the Muslim Teenager Tour brought the need for youth action to the fore. Targeting 13-19 year old Muslim youth, the tour was organised to start a much needed discussion with young Muslims about many issues affecting them; from drugs and knife crime, to identity and relationships. The tours’ aim was to not only create a 'safe space' for young people to explore and debate these issues, but importantly, to give them the opportunity to suggest solutions to some of these issues that they face. Although the Tour has only hit Ilford and Slough, workshops have been planned to take place in four other major cities across the UK in February 2009. It is anticipated that up to a thousand young Muslims will have been consulted.
Events will have workshops facilitated by capable young people, inspirational addresses by contemporary speakers, and entertainment by young people! The London event saw the finals of the Young Muslim Talent Search, allowing the audience to vote for their favourite talent amongst the 8 finalists. The Young Muslims UK will also be publishing some of their key findings from the workshops in 2009. The findings will no doubt identify those issues that Muslim youth feel are lacking attention, and how the Muslim community and significant others can help to address them.The organisers hope that 2009 will be known as “The Year of Youth Action”, with young Muslims getting involved in initiatives both internal and external of the Muslim community. For more information on The Young Muslims UK, please visit www.ymuk.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 087 8766
The Young Muslims Talent Search was organised by The Young Muslims UK along with Muslim Youth Helpline and the Muslim Council of Britain. The search took place in the last quarter of 2008, mainly focusing on the greater London area, although entries were accepted from other UK cities. The aim of the search was to highlight the vast amount of talent that British young Muslims possess. For more information about the Talent Search, please visit: www.ymuk.net/talent October 2008 | connected | 14
- How do we decide?
There are a number of factors that we take into consideration. Whilst we acknowledge all projects that we receive are excellent examples of current practice, we wish to choose one that 'ticks the boxes'. We look at the following areas to decide: Originality How well it addresses issues affecting young people Cohesive element Resourcefulness How it seeks to empower young people How Informally educative it is Participative element
Forthcoming courses: Introduction to Muslim Youth Work Birmingham, Leicester, London & Oxford February 4th & 5th, 12th & 13th, 26th & 27th March 12th & 13th, 26th & 27th
The Four Areas Model Working with Young Muslims Leicester, London & Sheffield The course provides a practical guide on how to engage and empower Muslim Suitable for: Youth Workers, Connexions Workers, Youth Offending Teams, Community Workers, Imams and anyone who wants to engage and empower young Muslims. February 2nd 11th & 25th March 11th & 25th
Islam & Muslims Birmingham, Bradford & London
Tell us your views. Please send in your comments and letters on any aspect of Connect, including your name and contact number to: email@example.com
Do you work with the Muslim community and want to know more about their faith? This course has been specifically designed to raise awareness and improve understanding of this major world religion
To book onto a course or for any further information, please ring:
0845 6520751 15 | connected | October 2008
Muslim Youth Skills has been set up as a direct response to meet the needs of young Muslims and the gap in service provision. The aim of the organisation is to provide training and consultancy to those working with or wishing to work with young Muslims, around pertinent issues in today’s context. Muslim Youth Skills draws upon over a decade of experience in the youth and community work ﬁeld, together with an understanding of religious, cultural and spiritual needs of Muslims. Interested in attending a course? Or require one of our consultants to help your organisation? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us on 0845 6520751