The Muslim Youth in England
For the time being the Muslim youths of England are facing with various problems and difficulties among others, the problems and difficulties such as, attitude towards the western culture, extremism, contradiction with their parents etc. We will describe them as follows:
For the time being the most fear of the Muslims residing in the western countries are in the fear of attraction of their youths to the western culture and ultimately not only they will dismiss their culture but also their religion and faith too.
In Britain, the westernization is carried – out in various ways. The first way is the entering of the young generation into the labor market of this country which naturally follows entering into a specific social class rather the revenue be high or low. The factor of income and the labor market in this country unwittingly makes the individual to cut from his/her traditional community and to enter into the new social classes.
The second factor of westernization is the secular educational system. The young generation owing to entering into the educational system after a period of time assimilates in the political social secular system. The general knowledge and information of a Muslim, in the educational system of Britain about the Royal Family and History of that country is much more than his/her information and knowledge pertaining to its religion in general and his/her faith in particular.
The historical experience has shown that the English culture in comparison with the traditional, ethnical and religious cultures of the migrants has been the dominant culture, thus the other cultures easily and with the lapse of time have assimilated into the heart of this dominant culture. The third factor is the impact of the groups upon one another within the society.
The Muslim young generation either in the elementary or secondary education are under the influence of any one of the intellectual groups of the society hence the young generation is easily influenced by one of these groups which they undeniably impact upon their behaviors such as wearing the cloth, having the food, addiction and … .
The fourth factor is the factor of language. The Muslim young generation due to living in a country with a foreign language and entering into a different educational system in the early years of their life easily learn the dominate language as their mother tongue which gradually by the lapse of time they learn the entire subjects of studying through the dominant language which itself it is a means of keeping distance from the traditional culture and literature.
The last factor is the society and the entire elements of its culture such as mass media, the social decorum and customs, music, propaganda and … They have very intensive impact upon changing the cultural nature of the Muslim young generation. The collection of the above indicated factors are easily able to alienate the young generation from their traditional cultural heritage and assimilate them into the dominant culture.
The threats of impacting on the Muslim youths
Even though the phenomenon of westernization swiftly has taken root on the Muslim young generation, the bitter truth is that, in spite of the intense inclination of westernization, the society of England does not accept them as its social groups and supposes them as aliens. Indeed the society of England supposes that it is right, because the culture of England is a European culture which has its exclusive culture while the young Muslim generation at the first stage is not European and the second stage is that they carry with themselves their own traditional culture. Thus this wandering generation can not be assimilated within this society even support them cordially. This bitter truth should be accepted that even through the Muslim young generation properly know that the English culture will not accept them, but they attempt the most to become more toxic perhaps to find a ray of hope to enter into the society of England with the purpose of to be completely attracted as well as accepted in that society. The main reason of this endeavoring is due to the entire alienation of them with their own ethnical and traditional culture.
This self- alienation of the young generation towards the dominant culture has brought about many painful consequences, owing to the alienation with their ethnical and traditional culture as well as lack of acceptance by the dominant culture, the young generation have become humiliated, even in a number of cases they have denied their tribe, religion so that they have refused to take care of their own old fathers and mothers and they for sake them easily due to the humiliation that they feel.
All of the above motioned cases have caused the old generation confess that their migration to the Britain was a mistake. Such circumstances in the past years have caused the collapse of the basis of many Muslim families.
One of the other important factors that have widened the gap between the old and young generations is the marriage of the Muslims males with the English females. These women mainly don’t attempt to understand or conceive the traditional and religious culture of their husbands and their families properly and from the very beginning months of the marriage the collision of two cultures that are entirely alien with one another lead to the premature separation (divorce) or the more attraction of the husband towards the dominant culture. The children of such families grow up in antagonistic milieu that the members of family don’t understand one another because from the very beginning of the life the children are facing with problem in connection with choosing which culture and method of life.
Certainly the reprimands are not merely attributable to the youths but the parents also have a crucial role in their self- alienation. There exists also this hope that through proper leadership the young generation returns to the bosom of their own traditional culture, but the main problem is precisely hidden here because there exist neither good teacher nor instructor to carry – out this job nor a perfect or specific leader. Indeed the reason of the alienation of the youths from Islam mostly stem from within the Islamic community than the outside society. The youth have not been encountered with the training, argument and explanation of Islamic issues neither at home nor in the mosque, as he/she doesn’t find any response about his/her thoughtful and ideological needs.
Consequently he/she turns away from Islam.
Sometimes also the youths are so disappointed that even unfortunately they resort to the offensive approaches, murder and cruel slaughter of the others in order to satisfy their mental needs as well as their religious disillusionments.
Undoubtedly, the sexual relations before marriage in Islam have no legitimacy and is forbidden, but in the present circumstances the youths neither has the situation of duly marriage nor the family fabric is able to solve his/her physical or mental problems.
On the other hand the society of England also has not been able to provide the youths the suitable job hence the youths waste their force in the flea (labor) markets of the West.
Even though the mass media of this country are overly attempting to create pessimism and disgust with respect to the Muslim communities of this country but it is interesting that on the basis of a number of researches which recently were carried – out by the churches of this country there have been stated that at present the number of the faithful Muslims in this country are more than faithful Christians who believe in church and are going to church.
Contradiction with the parents
In the family milieu of the migrant Muslims, the parents are living in contradiction with their children in various ways. In one hand the children are receiving their education in another milieu of their parents; on the other hand the level of education and knowledge of them is higher than the level of the elementary education of their parents. On the other hand the new educational milieu has created plentiful questions for the children that the parents are not able to respond to them. Due to the mentioned cases, the young generation have been seeking a number of the new resolutions for their lives in new environment.
Many of them are seeking a number of resolutions so that, while they maintain their dependence to Islam, will be able to live in the new circumstances.
Owing to it, the holy Quran and hadith (Tradition) have been considered as two main resources with the purpose of achieving to the concerned resolutions. The researching groups are attempting to categorize the interpretation and explanation of Quranic concepts and hadith on the basis of the daily needs as well as organize and systematize them in a transparent manner.
In the 1980s the training of Arabic language in the Islamic centers and mosques has had unpredictable growth and many of the students of the humanistic courses in England have chosen the courses of the language and literature of Arabs for themselves. At present almost more than 50% of the students of the Arabic languages at the universities are the Muslim students while in the last two decades the statistics of Muslim students in these courses either was almost very low or there was no student.
The impact of Islamic Revolution upon the Muslim youths of Britain:
The Muslim communities experts of England claim that the Muslim youths have developed in the period of time when the Islamic movements have been resuscitated in the world level and it sparked by the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 that afterwards has been reflected in the Algeria, Lebanon, Bosnia and the other parts of the world.
They say that they have come to conclusion that the late Imam Khomeini, the reverend supreme spiritual leader and the founder of I.R of Iran used to follow precisely the same methods of the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH). In other words this revolution had the Islamic roots in lieu of the western ones.
The Shia youths in England
The number of the Shias in England reaches to many hundred thousands that at least 400,000 of them are Lebanese, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani and Kurds that they have their own mosques, Hussaynieh, cultural organs and Islamic centers. The region of Birmingham is one of the regions of the country that the most Shia communities live there. There exist various Islamic centers in Britain so that in the city of London there exist more than eleven mosques which the Shias are active there. There exist also variety of the Shia organizations and centers.
According to the opinion of a number of the experts of the Muslim communities the Shia youths of this country are exposed to the ideological and moral problems. As thousands of the students with the purpose of completing their higher education enroll in the universities of that country there are not enough Shia books and resources.
Thus if the present process of forsaking this generation and lack of attention to the problems that propounded among them continue, more problems will be created. This situation exist among the Shias while Saudi- Arabia has a lot of important newspapers and Journals as well as television channels but the Shias are in lack of any publication, Journal and the television channels.
The educational situation of the Shia youths
In London there exists a university called, the World Islamic University that has been established by Dr Mohammad Ali Shahrestani, but the entire daily students don’t attend regularly in it. A great number of Shia professors teach in many British universities that the situation of those universities are not very optimum but there exist many potentials that due to the lack of a researched approach with the purpose of those reserves and cap abilities they have remained useless. Of course there exist other Shia institutes such as the center of Shia Khoja under the leadership of Sheikh Mulla Asghar who has established school for the boys and girls by using the Shias properties, but the poor Shias with low income have been deprived of using those schools owing to its high tuition. In comparison with the Sunnis such as the faculty of Fahad, the situation of this school is very miserable.
The faculty (college) of Fahad accept a number of students without receiving any tuition and free of charge.
The Faithful Situation of the Shia Youths:
The presence of the Shias in the month of Muharam show that their ideological situation is not critical. For instance when the late Imam Khomeini the great founder of I-R of Iran issued the verdict of apostasy of Salman Rushdi, the presence and demonstration of London was considerable. Even though the government of Saudi in its books and publications disseminate and print topics pertaining to the Shia beliefs and promulgate them.
One of the useful solution of maintaining the relationships of the youths with their noble and non – prejudice customs is providing them with the information through publication and dissemination of a number of newspapers in the mother tongue which will be a resource for feeding the Muslims mentally and intellectually in general and for the youth particularly. As well as they will be an element (Factor) or organ for making constant and direct relationships with the various strata of the Muslim communities.
Secondly it is necessary to send a religious representative by an Islamic competent leader to make relationship with the centers of ulama (Scholars) and Islamic communities to prevent any tension among the groups and communities.