Radical young Muslims, identity crisis or search for justice?

Young Muslims in Europe and UK in particular are different from their parents. Their parents came to Europe in search for a living without seeking to engage in the politics of either their countries of origin or that of the host country. But in part they are responsible for what the young Muslims feel about themselves. The parents sticking to their traditions chose to live away from the mainstream society. Among the things they did was sending their children to Muslim schools which in majority teach values that are accepted in home country. Under tolerance and respect of difference, the government allowed them to practice their traditions like those about marriage in which girls in particular are forced to marry without their consent.

The young Muslims growing in an environment which apparently contrasts with their values have become more vocal about what they are concerned with. They seem to have identity crisis as they feel they live in an environment where they don’t fit or clashes with what they were inculcated. For them the means to have a sense of identity is to look to religious groups now spreading their messages in mosques and schools and also through media mainly Islamic channels and websites. The controversies that rise from time to time like the ban of the veil are likely to fuel their discontent as this can be seen as an interference with their inherent values.

The young are easy to influence especially when they seek an ideal. During the 60s, the youth in the West were revolted against the establishment using the slogan of peace and freedom. The Muslim youth are using the slogan of reverting to the past values in an attempt to confront the present. The danger that lurks behind such ideals is when these youth become potential suicide bombers considering such actions as a way of healing the ills in this life and martyrdom leading to paradise. But if they choose to live religion to the spirit, they are free to do so as Islam in essence doesn’t practically force anyone to embrace it.

Moderation is the best means to live in a world with different religious beliefs alongside those who have no religious belief at all. Trying to make the whole world according to one’s image is a call for an endless struggle that can lead nowhere as no one has the right to tell the others what to believe or not to believe.

2 Comments

  1. thabet said,

    February 2, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    You’re overestimating how many muslim parents send their children to Muslim schools. In the UK this number is probably about 3%.

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    February 2, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Thank Thabet for your comment.

    Although the percentage of those who go to Muslim schools in UK is small, still young Muslims are influenced by extremist religious groups in mosques, publications in the media, especially on the internet, not to mention Islamic satellite channels, some of which are openly against all that is Western.


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