Muslim Youth Speak

LMYF is a young people’s led initiative which has ambitious plans to help tackle the many issues young people living in our target communities face. Our objective is to empower young people with the skills and confidence to help identify the solutions and enable them to develop and deliver a range of services and activities.

At our re-launch in 2015 Young Muslims from Leeds united in one voice with 7/7 survivor and peace activist Gill Hicks, at the launch of a major report published by the Leeds Muslim Youth Forum (LMYF) on Tuesday 21 July at the first LMYF Muslim Youth Conference.

The report, put together from workshops and interviews with 100 Muslim youngsters from Leeds, makes 12 key recommendations on increasing dialogue and grassroots work with youngsters, many of whom might be at risk of radicalisation from groups like ISIS. The report calls on, councillors, policy makers and the government to use real dialogue rather than rhetoric in formulating its counter-radicalisation policies and have specified the need for better services for young people.

Miss Hicks, who gave an emotional keynote speech at the launch attended by hundreds of people, said: “We are in a roomful of people who might have been nine or ten years old [when 7/7 happened], and growing up in the shadow of the events of July 7, 2005 is something I would like to talk to them further about, how they’ve ended up on this journey to be a part of a group that is absolutely dedicated to making a difference.

She praised the work of the Leeds Muslim Youth Forum, which has been re-launched in the wake of the ISIS crisis to help inform grassroots projects and provide a safe platform and voice for many youngsters.

Opening the conference, Imam Qari Mohammed Asim, from Leeds Makkah Mosque, said the young people from the forum were: “incredibly inspiring and motivating” and it was “important to channel that energy, that dynamism”.

He stressed that with increased political violence and instability across the globe in the name of Islam, some young British Muslims face additional challenges and risks. He said there is a “pressing need to reclaim the narrative about young people” and to promote concepts of “collective compassion and social action”.

The report findings include:

>88 per cent of the Muslim youngsters questioned identify themselves as British, with the majority saying their Islamic values do not conflict with British values.

>They are disgusted and appalled by the actions of groups like ISIS and the 7/7 bombers. Yet they feel increasingly under suspicion and stigmatised, and under pressure to constantly prove their loyalty to Britain.

>Most Muslim youngsters had experiences of discrimination in some form. There was an almost unanimous view that the mass media played a “destructive role” in shaping young Muslims’ perception of their role in Britain.

The full version of the Muslim Youth Speak report can be downloaded here.

With the report providing a framework for the issues needing to be addressed by the forum, the LMYF will be working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders on future plans and projects.