A Message to Muslim Youth

Posted by on Jul 18th, 2011 and filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


TWO years ago, in the month of Sha’ban 1430 A.H. (July 31 – August 1, 2009), the first Somali Diaspora Youth Conference was held in Northern Virginia (Metro-Washington, DC). It was a well organized and thought-provoking conference that everyone appeared to enjoy. I was invited to make a few remarks on the first day of the conference, and later I was asked by a number of the youth if I could put the advice that I delivered on paper, so that the attendees could have something to take back with them.

Later that night I composed a short list of advisory recommendations, and brought copies with me for distribution the following day. (The “Thirteen Points of Attention” below are a slightly modified version of that list.)

Thirteen Points Of Attention

1. Your faith (Al-Islam) is critical to your success in this life and the next. Have faith in your faith!

2.      Young people have two indispensable assets in their favor; energy and idealism. Each of us can make a difference. Recognize the importance of YOU (as a unique individual who is part of an equally important collective); and fully embrace the contribution that YOU must make in the struggle for positive change (both here and abroad). Frantz Fanon once said: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission; fulfill it or betray it.”

3.      Become actively involved in an organization working for positive change in America and/or the global community.

4.      Applied information is power! Acquire it and use it! (READ, WRITE and NETWORK.)

5.      Declare your own personal jihad against Apathy, Fear, and Tribalism. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) was once asked if bigotry was to love one’s tribe. The Prophet (pbuh) answered: “No, Bigotry is to help one’s tribe tyrannize others.”

6.      Become knowledgeable of your constitutional rights, and always be prepared to defend them. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance in the face of oppression.

7.      Know that the most effective way to defend Islam and Muslims is by becoming an effective advocate in the court of public opinion – right here in America! And always be mindful of the fact that a good example is the best teacher. (Be careful of the life you lead, you may be the only book that some people read!)

8.      Be willing to stand up for the rights of the oppressed whoever they may be (Muslim or non-Muslim). Concern for others is one of the characteristics of nobility.

9. Celebrate the beauty and gifts that are unique to your branch of humanity, but never lose sight of the common thread that binds you and the members of your tribe to the rest of humanity. Be always conscious of ALLAH’s decree on this matter: “O mankind, We created you from a single pair of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes; for you to know each other, not for you to despise one another. Verily, the most honored among you in the sight of ALLAH is the one who is most ALLAH fearing (i.e. the best in conduct).”

10. Be careful not to say or do anything that could bring injury to yourself, your family, or your community (in the micro or macro sense).

11. Always remember that if a Muslim is suspected or even accused of a crime, and asserts his innocence, he (or she) is entitled to due process and a presumption of innocence until all of the facts are presented in a court of law and proves otherwise.

12. It is the opinion of a host of civil liberties-oriented attorneys and advocacy organizations that if the FBI comes knocking at your door, you have a right to not submit yourself to any questioning or formal interrogation without your lawyer present. We strongly recommend that Muslims in America adhere to this right!

13. Never give your adversaries veto power over your activities. As Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said, “Tie your camel and have trust in ALLAH.” (Have faith in your faith!)

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