"Creating safe spaces for Muslim young people to explore personal,
social, spiritual and political choices"

Why A Response Is Needed

  • About half the British Muslim population is under 18.

  • The British Muslim population is disproportionately represented in the most deprived areas in major urban conurbations.

  • The current generation of British Muslim adults can not be seen to have achieved the 5 Every Child matters Outcomes during their growth to 18.

  • The services addressing needs of young Muslims are often weak.

  • Youth work learning programmes in the voluntary and statutory sector typical of British youth work, rarely engage with the development of youth workers based in the Muslim community and working with Muslim Young people.

  • Muslim youth work has been a reactive and receiving exercise with little chance to present its own voice and distinctive shape rather it has been framed by a succession of policy responses which it has hosted often making itself and the policy look ‘inauthentic’.

  • Youth work has become a ‘condom’ that can provide ‘safe’ entry into the lives of young people using temporary relationships that satisfy an immediate policy demand. The move from consultation to collaboration needs to be made more often. Directly engaging with youth and with youth worker experiences moves policy and strategy closer to understanding the initiatives and innovation required.

  • Muslim young people receive disproportionate attention in connection with the criminal justice system and have come to see them selves as being viewed as the enemy within rather than just as young people. Muslim youth work needs to emerge as a learning, experiential and challenging exercise framed by being young people and not only in terms of safety and security.

  • A young person centred approach is critical in a climate of ‘fear’ where organisations are refusing to support programmes that have the label ‘Muslim’. This is narrowing the development of distinctive, creative and positive Muslim curricula. This also inadvertently feeds a narrow version of Islam.

  • The development of community organisations and facilities by the Muslim communities is still at an early stage and progress is hampered by economic and social exclusion and existing funding commitments.

  • Directly engaging with youth and with youth worker experiences moves policy and strategy closer to understanding the initiatives and innovation required.