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18 March, 2011

Young Muslims launch resources to tackle social issues

Members of the Citizenship Foundation’s Young Muslim Leadership Network (YMLN) will be holding an event in London on 26 March to launch the media resources they have produced, which address issues facing young Muslims in Britain. The resources include two short documentaries, one focussing on barriers to civic participation and the other addressing widespread negative stereoptyping of the dress code of Muslim women. There is also a best practice guide for university Islamic societies.

The resources were produced through research, interviews and discussions with public figures such as former MP Clare Short, Khalid Mahmood MP and the president of the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP), Zaheer Ahmed MBE, who will also be attending the event.

The YMLN was developed to encourage young Muslims from across the country to explore and discuss the issues affecting them and their communities, and to develop their capacity for civic leadership. There are three groups - one in Birmingham and two in London. Since October 2009 the groups have had regular meetings to discuss social issues including Islamophobia, lack of participation, lack of understanding of Islam, segregation and educational under-achievement. Following this the groups have produced resources to address each issue.

The project has been funded by the department of Communities and local Government (CLG) as part of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) policy agenda.

Adviya Khan, a member of the Central London Group said, ‘I enjoyed working with YMLN because it actually gave young Muslims like me an opportunity to get involved in project building from a grass roots level and allowed our voices to be heard. It was great to work with a diverse group of other students, exchange ideas and pull together to create and deliver a project which we were passionate about. We also benefited from having a fantastic mentor and regular contact with the Citizenship Foundation which provided us with skills and advice when we needed it.'

The event will be attended by guests including Maurice Irfan Coles, an educationalist from Leicester, Rauf Bashir of Building Bridges Pendle, an interfaith organisation in the north of England and Mohammed Asif who heads Engage, an organisation that aims to promote Muslim engagement in politics and media.

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