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Muslim Youth in Britain

14 January, 2014 11:56

Our new project “Muslim Youth in Britain” tends to show what is the young  Muslim’s  expectations , challenges and opportunities in a minority Muslim society.

Muslim Youth in Britain

Muslims in The West are not limited to scientific and economic elites. Muslim people from different social classes and with various motivations leave their home town to the western countries, where they reside temporary or forever. Globalization phenomena have increased number of immigration in last two decades. The present research on Muslim youth in Britain aims at introducing ways to Muslims that live in The West to interact with the society while keeping their own religious values. In this regard we will study the opportunities, limitations, challenges and facilities. Understanding Muslims’ cultural, social, political, and religious freedom conditions, and finding about challenges and opportunities Individuals involved in religious programs for Muslims face, are among our other objectives.

Studying different books, articles and thesis about Muslim youth in The West, we find out that, religious leaders of Islamic communities know little about the needs of Muslims that leave in The West. There is no proper updated network communication between these leaders and western Muslim communities, as well. Most of first generation Muslim migrants in The West have been brought up in an Islamic context before their migration, but second and third generations of Muslim Migrants do not enjoy the same experience. At the same time first generation hasn’t act properly to transfer its knowledge and experience. This can be seen more about African Muslim migrants.

Another important issue is that Muslims in The West are not provided with true understanding of Islam. Part of this deficiency is because of insufficient efforts by religious leaders in the field of Muslims in The West, and part of it is for bad behavior of some Muslims, media propaganda, Islamophobia and putting limitation for Muslims to perform their religious rituals.

This research focus is on “youth” and “Britain” in relation to Muslims. The reason to choose youth as the main focus of this project is their age requirements, tendency to choose a life model, having concern for future, dynamism, and having capacity for evolvement. There is the possibility to approach “Muslim youth” topic from different aspects. As an example, we can study the relation between youth and religion in different levels as follows: a young person that adheres to religious teachings and has this ability to distinct between religion and culture, a young person which is brought up based on Islamic style of life but without knowledge on what he does, a young person that adheres to religion but considers it as a culture, and as a result of this sees religion as belonging to religious society. We can categorize Muslim youth in The West to different categories as well. Youth which are among second and third generation, and those which came to study or work, etc. We also have chosen Britain because the presence of Muslims in this country goes back to distant past, and for Britain is a multicultural country and more over the number of studies about Muslims in this country is considerable.

This research is a social study base on library method. Primary questions of this research are: 

1. What is the reason for the presence of Muslim youth in the UK?
2. Which nationalities and sects do Muslim Youth belong to in Britain?
3 . How is the employment and education condition of young British Muslims?
4. How is the relation between Muslim youth and religion?
5 .what is the status of Mosques and Islamic cultural centers in Britain?
6 . what problems and challenges, do young Muslim women face in Britain ?

We have start this project, identifying and collecting resources (books, articles, thesis), especially those resources that have been published from 2005 to 2013. To identify the resources we have followed three procedures:

1. Searching “youth, Muslim, and British” key words in websites like amazon and Google,
2. Using bibliography of the founded books,
3. Identifying active writers in the field of youth in Britain, and their works.
Among the very first considerable resources was, the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Studying this encyclopedia and other primary resources helped us increasing our knowledge and coming up with new questions. This new question directed us to find new resources to answer them. 


The books that have been used in this research are of different types. Some of these books are directly related to Muslim youth in Britain; however, some others only devote some parts to this topic. Some of these books are:

Young, British and Muslim by Lewis ,F.(2007)

Book Description: All four of the bombers involved in 7/7, the deadly attack on London's transport system in July 2005, were aged 30 or under. The specter of extremist Islam looms large and Muslim youth in the UK are increasingly linked to radical Islamic movements. A clear, balanced examination of this complex issue is long overdue. Philip Lewis sets out to address this by looking at the lives and beliefs of young Muslims aged 18 to 30, against a backdrop of the problems any migrant community face. Beginning with an overview of British Muslim communities, he goes on to explore the nature of the intergenerational gap in the Muslim community, showing how normal tensions are exaggerated as children are educated in a language and culture different to that of their parents. 

Muslim Youth: Challenges, Opportunities and Expectation by Ahmad , F. and Seddon, M.(2012):

Book Description: This title offers an insight into key contemporary global issues relating to the lives and experiences of young Muslims. Many Muslim societies, regardless of location, are displaying a 'youth bulge', where more than half their populations are under the age of 25. An increasingly globalized western culture is rapidly eroding 'traditional' ideas about society, from the family to the state. For young Muslims these challenges may be compounded by a growing sense of alienation as they face competing ideologies and divergent lifestyles This book addresses many of the central issues currently facing young Muslims in both localized and globalized contexts through engaging with the work of academics, youth work practitioners and those working in non-governmental organizations and civic institutions.

Young British Muslims: Identity, Culture, politics and the Media, by Afrose Kabir ,N. (2010)

Book Description: In Britain's highly politicized social climate in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings, this book provides an in-depth understanding of British Muslim identity. Nahid Kabir has carried out over 200 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with young Muslims in five British cities: London, Leicester, Bradford, Leeds and Cardiff. By emphasising the importance of biculturalism, Kabir conveys a realistic and hopeful vision for their successful integration into British society.

Diaspora Youth and Ancestral Homeland: British Pakastani /Kashmiri Youth Visiting Kin in, Pakistan and Kashmir, by Gressey , G.(2006)

Book Description: This book explores the relationships of thirty young people with their ancestral homeland, of Pakistan or Kashmir, and with British urban life. It does so using narratives from young people about their journeys from Birmingham in Britain to visit kin in villages in rural Pakistan and Kashmir. Its particular usefulness is the critique that its empirical data raises of 'conventional wisdom' of some governments, media, academic theorists and public bodies about Muslim Minorities.

Muslims in Britain: making social and political space, by Ahmad,W. and Sardar ,Z.(2012)

Book Description: With contributions from world renowned scholars on British Muslims and from policy makers writing on issues of concern to Muslims and others alike, the book explores how British Muslims are changing social and religious spaces such as mosques and the role of women, engaging in politics, creating media and other resources, and thus developing new perspectives on Islam and transforming Muslim society from within. Chapters cover issues of religion and politics, Britishness, governance, parallel lives, gender issues, religion in civic space, ethnicity, and inter ethnic and religious relations, as well as the role of intellectuals, chaplains and activists in reforming Islam and renovating the British political landscape. Providing a broad and comprehensive examination of the key issues surrounding Muslims in the UK, this book will be a valuable resource for students, lecturers and researchers in sociology, social policy, geography, politics, Islamic studies and other related disciplines.

Muslim in Britain: Race, Place and Identities, Hopkins, by P. and Gale ,R. (2009):

Book Description: Following the events of 11th September 2001 in the USA, and more especially, the bombings on the London underground on 7th July 2005 and the incident at Glasgow Airport on 30th June 2007, an increasing amount of public attention has been focused upon Muslims in Britain. Against the backdrop of this debate, this book sets out a series of innovative insights into the everyday lives of Muslims living in contemporary Britain, in an attempt to move beyond prevalent stereotypes concerning what it means to be 'Muslim'. Combining original empirical research with theoretical interventions, this collection offers a range of reflections on how Muslims in Britain negotiate their everyday lives, manage experiences of racism and exclusion, and develop local networks and global connections. The authors explore a broad range of themes including gender relations; educational and economic issues; migration and mobility; religion and politics; racism and Islamophobia; and the construction and contestation of Muslim identities.Threaded through the treatment of these themes is a unifying concern with the ways in which geography matters to how Muslims negotiate their daily experiences as well as their racialised, gendered and religious identities. Above all, attention is focused upon the role of the home and local community, the influence of the economy and the nation, and the power of transnational connections and mobilities in the everyday lives of Muslims in Britain. Includes contributions from: Louise Archer, Yahya Birt, Sophie Bowlby, Claire Dwyer, Richard Gale, Peter Hopkins, Lily Kong, Sally Lloyd-Evans, Sean McLoughlin, Sharmina Mawani, Tariq Modood, Anjoom Mukadam, Caroline Nagel, Deborah Phillips, Bindi Shah, and Lynn Staeheli

Honour, Violence ,Women and Islam, by Idriss , M. and Abass,T. (2011):

Book Description:Why are honour killings and honour-related violence (HRV) so important to understand? What do such crimes represent? And how does HRV fit in with Western views and perceptions of Islam? This distinctively comparative collection examines the concept of HRV against women in general and Muslim women in particular. The issue of HRV has become a sensitive subject in many South Asian and Middle Eastern countries and it has received the growing attention of the media, human rights groups and academics around the globe. However, the issue has yet to receive detailed academic study in the United Kingdom, particularly in terms of both legal and sociological research. This collection sets out the theoretical and ethical parameters of the study of HRV in order to address this intellectual vacuum in a socio-legal context. The key objectives of this book are: to construct, and to develop further, a theory of HRV; to rationalise and characterise the different forms of HRV; to investigate the role of religion, race and class in society within this context, in particular, the role of Islam; to scrutinise the role of the civil/criminal law/justice systems in preventing these crimes; and to inform public policy-makers of the potential policies that may be employed in combating HRV.

Pendulum Culture? Integration of Young Muslim Immigrants in East London, by Balieki ,J. and Wells, A.(2009): 

Book Description:Many people in the United Kingdom welcome the richness that so many immigrants bring to society, but others are afraid, worrying about the effect of population influx on a small island with limited space. They are especially anxious about Muslims who seem unwilling to integrate. A closer examination shows that younger Muslims-especially those in college-are in fact more willing to integrate than generally believed. But they face difficult challenges in straddling the line between two cultures. At home, they can be faithful to their family culture, but when away, they adapt. Seeking to help different groups understand each other, authors Janusz Balicki and Anne Wells examine the views of a group of Muslim college students. They share firsthand accounts from young Muslims who are navigating multiple cultures. The authors examine issues such as the importance of religious identities and of various traditions, gender equality and dress codes, and relationships between parents and children. Regardless of whether you are Muslim or not, you will understand yourself and others better and find new ways to work together with The Pendulum Culture.

Black muslim in Britain, by Reddie,R.(2009):

Book Description: Islam is a world religion with adherents of all ethnicities, but more than two thirds of Muslims in Britain are of South Asian ancestry, leading many to believe that Islam is the preserve of a single community. But just as there is more to Islamic theology than Jihad and Fatwahs, there is more to the faith than Pakistani and Indian believers. In fact, in the last 2 decades, Islam has arguably become the fastest growing religion among Black people in Britain. This phenomenon is taking place at a time when the UK appears more disunited over faith, ethnicity and identity than ever before. This book provides essential insights into the impact of an often misunderstood and misrepresented faith upon one of the most culturally dynamic and expressive communities in Britain.

Between Cultures: Continuity and change in the lives of Young by Asians, Anwar, M.(1998): 

Book Description:Between Cultures considers the position of young Asians in Britain in relation to education, employment, housing, the police and the responses they encounter from these institutions. It explores the cultural issues of family, marriage, religion and mother tongue, and the roles of Asian parents and the Asian community are analysed. Muhammad Anwar goes on to compare the situation of young Asians with that of young people generally, and to those in similar circumstances but with different backgrounds and religions.

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