News 2008 News ->The
next generation of Muslim community leaders.
The next generation of Muslim
(7 October 2008)
Secretary Hazel Blears and Children and Families
Secretary Ed Balls today launched a new Young
Muslim Advisory Group (YMAG) and unveiled the
names of the twenty two young people who will
act as advisors. The group will work directly
with Government to help deepen its engagement
with young Muslims. The advisors will talk to
ministers and policy makers first hand about the
issues affecting their day to day lives. Ranging
in age from 16-25 this unique group is comprised
of individuals from across England and across
denominations and includes students, undergraduates
as well as a trainee lawyer, youth leaders, a
speech and language therapist.
Commenting on the launch
of the Young Muslim Advisory Group of twenty two
young British Muslims to advise the government
on Muslim issues, Shadow Minister
for Community Cohesion, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi,
said: This is another example of the government
engaging with the British Muslim communities on
the basis purely of their faith. There are many
issues that face young people: drugs, unemployment
and housing, to name but a few.
To select a group of
twenty two young people, however talented they
may be, to advise the government on Muslim
issues is patronising and deeply concerning.
When will the Government learn that the Muslim
community is not a homogenous block, and the issues
its young people face are predominantly the same
issues that all young people in this country face,
whatever their background, race, or religion?
Actions such as this
are a continuation of the Governments policy
of state multiculturalism, which creates a more
Muslim Advisory Group (YMAG) will have direct
access to senior cabinet ministers and will work
with Government departments to find solutions
to a range of challenges including tackling discrimination;
increasing employment levels; preventing extremism
and boosting civic participation.
advisors will bring a wide range of experience.
All are already heavily involved in their local
communities through volunteering, youth work or
as representatives on local groups. The advisors
have a huge reach into communities and this contact
will help to generate debate and discussion amongst
the widest possible audience.
Blears said:"There are over 800,000 Muslims
under the age of 25 living in the UK but we don't
hear enough from them. Ensuring young Muslims
have access to constructive, democratic channels
for dealing with concerns and frustrations is
crucial to our efforts to build strong, resilient
contribution young people can make to finding
solutions to issues in society often goes unrecognised
and untapped. Young Muslims have a vital role
to play in challenging prejudice and preconceptions
both within their community and in wider society
and I want to hear directly from these young people
on a wide range of issues.
group will help to highlight what it means to
a young British Muslim today, what the challenges
and issues - social, cultural or economic - are
and how we can best work together to address them,
making sure that their voices and those of their
peers are heard by the Government. These impressive
individuals represent the next generation of Muslim
community leaders and I look forward to working
Communities in the UK
communities in the UK have an unusual age profile
compared to the rest of the UK population. One
third of the Muslim UK population of 1.6 million
is under the age of 16 (compared to England average
of 20%); 54% are under the age of 25 years and
70% under the age of 35 years. Experience has
also shown that young Muslims - particularly between
the ages of 16-24 - are the most vulnerable to
being drawn into violent extremism.
is raising its work with young Muslims to a new
level in order to increase opportunities for young
people to play a greater role in civic society,
give them a stronger voice in their communities
and engage in discussions that will help the government
to find solutions to some of the most pressing
Group will give these young people a seat at the
table of the Department for Communities and Local
Government, and Children Schools and Families.
They will speak on behalf of their peers and communities
on issues that cut to the heart of what it is
to be a British Muslim in today's modern society.
meeting of the young advisors will be chaired
by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and Children,
Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls.
of the group will include:
Delivering a youth conference for around 300
young people to discuss the challenges they
face as young Muslims and their vision for
their future as British Muslims
To work with a range of departments across
government to develop a wider programme of
work with young people to encourage active
citizenship through increased volunteering.
Work with the DCSF on a shadow youth PSA board.
This board will focus on addressing issues
such as reducing the number of 16-18 year
olds not in education and employment; reducing
teenage pregnancy and tackling use of drugs
and alcohol by young people.
The Government keen to get the views of the
group on a wide range of issues that affect
The development and delivery of faith projects,
including addressing issues of theology;
Work to tackle radicalising material on the
An examination of how best to boost the representation
and participation of young Muslims is civic
life such as becoming local councillors or
members of the Young Muslims Advisory Group appointed
Ahmed, 22 from East Didsbury, Manchester
graduated from Oxford University with a physics
degree. A member of a number of organisations
including Islam and Muslim Awareness Project she
is also on the executive board of the Federation
of Student Islamic Studies and whilst at Oxford
served as Vice President, Secretary and events
coordinator at the Oxford University Islamic Society
Ali, 20 Islington, London
as a freelance journalist and has worked as a
volunteer for Islamic Relief and a fundraiser
for Muslim Aid. Magda is an undergraduate at City
University where she studies Journalism and economics.
Al-Yassin, 18 from Brent, London
year student studying medicine at Kings College
London, she is the chairwoman of Noor Youth, a
subcommittee of the Ahlul Hayt Society at Kings.
Shaiful Amin, 18 from East London
starting a degree in medicine at Kings College
London. He is currently the President of the Islamic
Society of Tower Hamlets and works locally with
young people as an outreach worker.
Ayyub, 24 from Brixton
work coordinator in Lambeth, Faheem is a qualified
mentor and also counsels young people who have
been in prison or are in trouble with the police.
Azzam, 25 from Derby
works as a speech and language therapist. Alongside
her career commitments she has also been heavily
involved in local voluntary work in Derby for
the last two years. As well as acting as chair
of Lil Muslimah, a voluntary Muslim women's organisation
which represents women in the city, Raffein is
a member of the Derby Muslim Forum and works as
both presenter and part of the management team
at the local community radio station Radio Ikhlas.
Elahi, 19 from Willesden Green, London
at the School of Oriental and African Studies
studying Economics and Development studies, Farah
is a member of the association of Muslim researchers,
the SOAS Islamic Society and the South Asian Society.
She has recently completed an internship at Christian
Foy, 20 from Blackburn
studying for a degree at the University of Lancashire.
Ghannam, 18 from Knowle, Solihull
studying maths and economics at the London School
of Economics. He is a member of the Solihull Muslims
Community Association and during 2006 -07 worked
with the UK Youth Parliament as elected member
for Solihull. He is currently employed as a consultant
for the National Youth Agency.
Gulamhusein, 17 from Harrow, London
member of the youth panel at the Shia Ithna'ashari
Community of Middlesex (SICM) Kulsum also teaches
the Quran, has established an Islamic society
at his school and founded a cross country team.
Khalid Hanjra, 19 from Surrey
studying accountancy and Business Law at Portsmouth
University and is a representative for the Kingston
Muslim Youth Association.
Iqbal, 24 from Selly Park, Birmingham
an active member of Hear My Voice - an organisation
that encourages young people to have a say on
issues that matter to them.
Iqbal, 17 from Heaton, Bradford.
studying at Leeds University she is from Heaton
in Bradford. A member of the Bradford Youth Service
she set up her own not for profit organisation
how to drum and perform poetry. She is a member
of the Bradford Socialist Workers Party and of
the organisation Love Music Hate Racism. She also
volunteers part time at the Barnados Charity shop
and writes on a freelance basis for a number of
Aqil, 16 from Whalley Range, Manchester
at college, she has taken part in a number of
conferences discussing issues relating to topical
issues around Islam and British Society.
Khan, 21 from Leeds
from Bradford studying International Relations
and Security Studies at Leeds University. He is
a project development worker for the Leeds Muslim
Youth Forum. Following the 7/7 attacks Fahd took
part in a consultation event in Leeds where he
raised issues with the former PM Tony Blair and
has since engaged with former Lord Nazir Ahmed
and Baroness Warsi on a range of issues.
Khan, 17 from Thornaby, Durham
studying for 7 A levels, he is also part of the
Islamic Awareness group which works with Muslims
and non- Muslims, Thornaby Muslim Association,
Thornaby cricket club, works at Al-Haaydiyah (an
Islamic school that teaches Muslim children Islam)
as well as serving as an Imam in the local mosque.
He has previously attended the Global Young Leaders
Conference in Washington DC and New York - which
bought together 400 academically gifted teenagers
from across the world to educate them about world
Khimji, 18 from Watford
worked as a secretary at the local Ansar Youth
project organising various events for young people
in the local area. Currently studying, Ali-Abba
has previously worked as a youth worker where
he helped to engage parents in workshops to see
what they perceived to be their children's greatest
concerns in Britain today.
Ahmed Nawaz, 18 from Rochdale
of the UK Youth Parliament for the Borough of
Rochdale. Usman is also a member of the Sufi Muslim
Council where he coordinate activities for young
people. Through this role he has developed an
understanding of how vulnerable young Muslims
can be susceptible to radicalisation and this
has helped him to develop strategies to deter
Muslims from organisations linked to terror. Also
a local DJ, he works as a presenter on Crescent
Community radio station and currently hosts a
phone in programme which often deals with controversial
issues around Islam.
Nihat, 21 from Ilford Essex
recently graduated from Oxford University, (modern
History and politics) and is hoping to be a barrister.
Currently taking a year off before starting law
school she is working as a project officer for
the organisation MyBnk, a social enterprise which
teaches financial and enterprise skills to young
adults and disadvantaged groups in inner city
Qureshi, 20 from Brixton in London
studying for a degree in Business Management,
Saad has also taken up a post as an assistant
teacher at the London College of Business. He
is a member of the Stockwell Green Youth Project
and represents young Muslims in the borough through
his role on the board of the Lambeth Muslim Forum.
Rahman, 21 East London
graduate of Oxford University where she studied
English, Asma is currently a volunteer mentor
for the London School of Excellence in Whitechapel.
Whilst at Oxford she was Vice President and editor
of the newsletter for the Islamic Society.
Saif, 22 from Hall Green, Birmingham
as working as a trainee solicitor for the last
year he has been a cub scouts leader for the Birmingham
304th Muslim cub scouts group. Whilst studying
at Keele University he was twice voted president
of the universities Islamic Society and he also
set up the first Islamic Society at the College
of Law in Birmingham.