Since 9/11 and 7/7, the political and media spotlight has been focussed on Muslim communities. The media has been awash with stories of the threat of terrorism and the ‘problems’ of multiculturalism. References to Islam or being a Muslim are rarely portrayed in a positive light. Young Muslims have largely borne the brunt of this attention, with a few opportunities to respond and paint an alternative picture of what it means to be a young British Muslim. Young people from Muslim backgrounds have been for some time and are increasingly experiencing multiple layers of exclusion, anti-Muslim racism and a sense of powerlessness which needs to addressed
What we did?
Young Muslim Voices campaigned on a wide range of issues, which Muslim youth felt were important to them. These issues included, citizenship, anti-terror legislations, mental health issues, housing and discrimination. Young Muslim Voices engaged with over 7000 young people from various backgrounds, faiths and non-faiths. Many of whom were not in education, employment or training and socially excluded.
Kick Islamophobia: The anti-racism festival and football tournament combined organised by 40 young people. Teams of young people from Islington took part in the Kick Islamophobia football tournament, which raised awareness about anti-Muslim racism and brought communities together to celebrate their message of 'one community, one goal'. As well as playing in the football tournament, participants and spectators were encouraged to chat at the 'talkoke table' about issues affecting young people and make suggestions on the 'writing on the wall' about how to make Islington a better place to live. The event engaged over 1500 young people in 2008 and 2009.
The British Bangladeshi film project: A group of young British Bangladeshi Muslim men produced a documentary about the issues affecting them growing up. Through this project, young people were able to highlight issues around police, gang violence, safety as well as talking about how Islamophobia has affected their lives.
Street Talk Team: was a radio project produced by a group of young people who were trained up on radio skills and produced a show around safety and youth voices.
Events Management Training: (in partnership with City University) a group of 25 young people were trained in events management and delivered a successful ‘Islington Youth Achievement Awards’. They went on organizing the national Young Muslim Voices Conference.
Arts project: Linking with ‘Back To Basics’ and EMA Team, arts projects and workshops delivered in Islington Green and Highbury Grove. This project focused on engaging young girls, especially from Muslim backgrounds. Exploring faith and Identity through art.
YMV Conference 2008
Young people from Young Muslim Voices delivered a youth led conference inviting down many key decision makers, Police, Imams, local community leaders as well as youth workers and heads of services. The purpose of the conference was to engage in dialogue with key decision makers, raising awareness of the issues and making recommendations. The event also launched a report raising issues Young Muslims were facing. Issues ranged from policing, unemployment, cultural conflicts, health and media representation to mention a few.