It seems there is a shift in the air, a turn in the tide, maybe a groundswell is coming.
Whatever it is, young Australian Muslims seem to be on their feet.
They are not waiting for good leadership to happen, rather they are leading the path of transformation.
The 2018 National Muslim Youth Summit organised by Islamic Sciences & Research Academy Australia (ISRA) on Sunday, April 14, 2018 in Parramatta, Sydney, brimmed with over 150 bright-eyed future leaders.
The one-day Summit sought out youth community leaders between the ages of 16-28 from all across Australia, to develop a leadership agenda to bring back and implement within their local communities.
The Conference provided robust discussions on social, socio-political and religious viewpoints and the challenges of leadership with four inspiring speakers including Sarah El-Assad, Deng Adut, Dawud Ilham and Jumaana Abdu.
More importantly, it aimed to inspire and guide young people to empower their greater local communities.
Often being misrepresented in the mainstream media, young Muslims said that they did not always have the opportunity to have their voices heard.
Using Social Media
To counter this, social media was identified as an instrument for any young person to feel seen and heard. It also provides an incredible opportunity for young people to work on the passion project and instigate change.
Young Muslims want to express themselves just like any other person but according to lawyer-in-training, Mikail Mermi, they should exercise care.
“Know your boundaries,” he advised.
Sadly, the fear of being ‘labelled as too Muslim’ was also identified to be a hindrance for many young people.
The vast amount of negative media coverage on Muslims does much to reduce a young person’s self-esteem. Ultimately, practicing your religion should not hold you back.
Indeed, it was Lina Ali who eloquently articulated this point to her peers.
“We should not shy away because we are Muslim, and we should be proud,” Lina said.
Experiences of a Child Soldier
Deng Adut spoke about his experiences of having been a child soldier in the South Sudanese civil war and how he became successful in life.
Deng is a self-made man, holds a master’s Degree in Law and practices as a criminal lawyer.
Having faced grave challenges in his life, he continues to stay strong. He is a partner in his own law firm, AC Law Group and has written his biography, ‘Songs of a War Boy.’
Faseeha Hashmi is a Tender and Grant Assessment Agent at ‘Salamat,’ A Marketing Agency based in Melbourne. The above article, which appeared in Australasian Muslim Times issue dated April 20, 2018 and has been edited and reproduced here with the permission of the Editor of the publication. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.amust.com.au
Deng Adut, Dawud Ilham, Jumaana Abdu and Sarah El Assad at the Conference
Picture Courtesy: Australasian Muslim Times.