Farid Panjwani and Modjtaba Sadria presented a paper at a conference titled, ‘Muslim Youth: Challenges, Opportunities and Expectations’, that was jointly organised by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (UK) and the University of Chester. The conference was held at the University of Chester over 20, 21 and 22 March 2009.
Participants included academics, educationalists, psychologists, social commentators, youth work practitioners, institutions and organisations at both national and international levels.
The paper presented by Panjwani and Sadria, Fragmented youth, polyphonic social discourses, considered how young people born in Muslim families relate to their religio-cultural tradition.
The paper stressed the importance of exploring the relationship between heritage and identity, and the need for education which portrays Muslim cultures as a set of diverse and heterogeneous lived realities.
Research shows that young Muslims relate to their cultural heritage in several different ways – from making it their primary source of identity, to being indifferent or even hostile towards it. These modes of relationship are expressed in ritual, artistic, political and social stances. Young people grapple with numerous claims of loyalty, and are thus often caught between the demands of citizenship and obligations of religious tradition.
Modjtaba Sadria, Professor at AKU-ISMC.
Given these multiple factors, the paper raised a number of questions. How can the idea of ‘Muslim youth’ be clearly defined? What are the underlying sociological and theological assumptions that comprise this concept? Particularly, how does the issue of identity relate to the question of education about Muslim heritages?
Panjwani and Sadria’s paper formed part of the session, ‘Muslim Youth: Developing Potential’, which included speakers from the Karimia Institute, UK and the Muslim Youth Foundation, UK.
Others sessions included ‘Defining Muslim Youth Work: Themes and Issues’, ‘Muslim Youth: Identities’, and ‘Muslim Youth: Perspectives from Practice and ‘Muslim Youth: Perspectives from Central Asia and the Mediterranean’.
Muslim Youth: Challenges, Opportunities & Expectations (Association of Muslim Social Scientists UK)
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Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations