A change in Western identity

Ali Hammuda


Channel: Ali Hammuda

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Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah. Dear brothers and sisters whenever Allah subhanaw taala takes something away from the Muslim ummah, he will always replace it with something better.

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And whenever the son of Islam seems to set in one place, it will always be made to rise in another.

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This is the status of the Muslim ummah nation in the eyes of Allah subhanaw taala and such should be the optimism of Muslims, even within their darkest hours.

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To elaborate upon this concept a little bit nothing decimated. The Muslims globally, like the Mongols did,

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and their threat to the Muslims was really an existential one.

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Then in the year 1258, where it reached a climax, their armies made their way to the city of Baghdad, which was the capital of the then Ambassador Khilafah. And not a single city unfortunately stood in defense of Baghdad,

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and naturally it found itself unable to fend off this enemy, and the Mongols sacked the entire city. It burnt it down to ashes, and 1 million men, women and children

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and even babies in the arms of their mothers were put to death or clubbed to death.

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However, in the very same year, year 1258 Another event took place on Earth man son of Autobahn, after whom the Ottoman dynasty is named, is born, where the son of his lamb seems to set in one place it rises in another as though fast forwarding into our times. Today, the period of 2010 was a very testing one for the Muslims. Whether you're talking about the intensifying prevent strategy that the Trojan horse scandal, harmful comments that were made by the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson who compared Muslim Nickleby women to letterboxes national institutionalized Islamophobia. For so many of us, it really did feel like the son of Islam was perhaps setting in the UK. But look

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within the same decade. The religion and ethnicity findings of the 2021 census confirmed a 44% rise in the Muslim population of England and Wales. And that for the first time in a census of England and Wales, less than half of the population described themselves as Christian. So watershed moment.

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And then those who are following Islam, their numbers jumped from 2.7 million to 3.9 million adherence.

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Now, there are so many lessons in this. But before we share them, it's very important to realize what is central to the playbook of the Islamophobes in a situation like this, the minorities will be scapegoated. And they will just juxtapose the rise of Islam alongside the decline of Christianity. And they will amplify the narrative of a Britain that is under siege and the great replacement being underweight. Though Muslims have nothing to do with the dwindling numbers of people identifying as Christian. Now there are factors intrinsic to the faith that need to be assessed. When addressing the freefall of Christianity. We have to look at things like people's disillusionment with

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Christianity because of the constant sex abuse scandals of Christian clergy, or the never ending a combination of the major churches with secular liberalism, making Christianity quite indistinguishable. Seems no different to anything else.

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One message there is for us, however, that concessions or tenors do not, they haven't helped the church in gaining followers. It's actually caused the opposite. That's a message for us concessions don't work.

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In any case,

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Muslims have been presented with a huge opportunity to exhibit Islam as an alternative to the spiritual vacuum in the UK, an alternative that stands defiantly strong and its identity before the storms of modern modernity. And that is in contrast to all of the other institutions that have just top toppled under pressure.

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But in all honesty, we don't always do a very good job in presenting Islam as this novel and unique way of life.

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I'll give you an example. When you have the same questions being asked year in year out about say the permissibility of combining all of the

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prayers. All five of them were full of four of them. Right in the evening, because of the shame of being spotted in public praying, or am I allowed to attend a compromising work related party for my career?

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Is it okay to celebrate Valentine's Day Halloween? Birthdays? There's a matter that's far deeper than the 50 answer at play here. And that's the identity of the questioner, the identity of the one who's asking this question, as well as this weak and docile image of Islam that we are presenting to the world with this type of questions and concessions. Now, I want you to compare this with the answer given by a Jewish rabbi whose name is Devi Friedman, head of the Ask the rabbi teen. And he was asked by a Jewish lady about the ruling of celebrating Halloween. Now, instead of offering a technical answer, like some of us would do, no, he tackled it from a core identity perspective. He

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said to this woman.

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And these are his words, we lived amongst other people, while being very different from them. And we dramatically changed the world, by being that way. And then he said, That's a proud and nurturing role for any child to be a leader, not a follower, to be a model of what should be rather than what is.

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And then he said, make your kids feel that they are the Vanguard, that they belong to people who have been entrusted with the mission to be a light to the nation's not an ominous light inside a pumpkin. But I liked that stands out and above and shows everyone where to go.

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And then he said, Forget about Halloween and wait for pure and pure means one of the Jewish

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festivities, and one of their holidays. We've spoken about the past, we've assessed some of the present moving forward, we Muslims no doubt should welcome these increase in numbers. But I would caution against any sense of triumphalism because it carries with it the danger of complacency in addressing some of the current structural problems that we face, as a minority, especially in the West.

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For example, according to the Office of National Statistics, 61% of Muslims in England and Wales live in the lowest 40% of areas ranked in terms of deprivation.

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Muslims are also the most targeted group in England and Wales and most of the targeted are women.

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More importantly, however,

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it overlooks the growing problem in our Muslim community, the elephant in the room, Muslims leaving the religion

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due to the pressures of the Islamophobia, industry and secularism and the rest of it, a staggering 23% of born Muslims in the US no longer consider themselves Muslims. By the time they're adults. And that's roughly the same as the Americans who were raised Christian, but they no longer identify as Christians when they're adults. But what makes us a little bit different is that unlike other faiths, Islam gains about as many converts as it loses, but it's still a problem. It's an issue.

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So in this particular context, where Christianity is, of course, the majority religion, and the philosophies of secularism, liberalism, feminism, capitalism are very much a pervasive atheism, not to mention.

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They're pervasive, they're influential still, Muslims who desire to transmit Islam to their children

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need to understand how to socialize their children to develop a healthy and strong and proud Islamic identity. So what do we do here? How do we do that? I'm going to suggest a few things number one, parental influence, there is an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence that the most important source of religious socialization

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is the family. Professor Christian Smith, from the University of Notre Dom, who is one of the most experienced and celebrated, respected sociologists of religion. He studied how faith is passed down to children.

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And him and his team they have a book titled handing down the faith, how parents pass their religion on to the next generation.

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And in that book, Professor Smith and his team, they state that the single most powerful causal influence on the religious lives of American teenagers and young adults is the release

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Just lives of their parents. Look Subhanallah not their peers. He said, not the media, not their youth group leaders, not their clergy, not their religious school teachers. It's the parents.

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Now, of course, I know what you're thinking this is old news to us. Because the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam already told us that a child's

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ultimate introduction to the world is by way of his or her parents. Key sal Allahu Allah who sent them said Kulu, then you will do and then filter the ad aware who you have without any heat or do not surround the heat of emoji. Certainly, he said, every newborn child is born upon the way of Islam. But it is his parents who said that make him into a Jew, Christian or a Meijin parents.

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There are other things like family structure that's also been linked to the religious identity of children. So youth raised by Count with me married

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biological parents who share the same faith.

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They're more likely to be religious, and share the faith of their parents than children of single parents, divorced parents, interfaith marriages, and other non traditional family structures.

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Don't despair, if any of these descriptions fit you and your family because there are other things to think about. Even if you don't have this ideal. And I'm going to share with you two indispensable identity preserving parenting techniques bear them in mind. The first of them is spiritual modeling.

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Children learn through show me not tell me. And it's imperative upon those who have become parents

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to up their game,

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to push themselves outside of their comfort zones. Even if it's not for yourself, then at least it should be for those little eyes are now observing you to read books that you wouldn't have read attend courses you wouldn't have attended to enhance your worship in ways that perhaps you wouldn't have to be honest, to display a religious commitment that may not have otherwise been displayed by yourself if it wasn't for this responsibility that has now been placed upon you. Spiritual modeling. Number two, quality religious conversation. In one study, both parents and children

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rated religious conversations as the most meaningful religious activity when the child is involved as an active participant.

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And research found that the strength of the parent child relationship

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only matters if parents and youth actually discuss religion together.

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That's point number one, parental involvement, parental influence with those two subheadings I shared with you the second identity preserving identity building technique for us is heritage awareness.

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Until the lions learn how to write every story will glorify the hunter.

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That's an African proverb. Which means that until the oppressed, tell their own story, and resist the false narratives of their persecutors, the oppressors will always be hailed as the hero.

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Now, as Muslims, we have a narrative to share with our children and to share with the world.

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As an example, if any nation

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could claim that algebra, algorithms, hospitals, surgical instruments, maps, clocks, cameras, hygiene practices, flying machines, universities, coffee even

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wouldn't have been possible without their inventors. Not to mention the significant contributions to geometry in chemistry, zoology, physics, astronomy,

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that nation would not fail in putting this all unfold displayed through every medium. But that's our claim. So where is the dissemination?

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If any civilization

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could claim that they were, in fact not responsible for the two World Wars, that they were not responsible for the invention of an atomic bomb and the dropping of that atomic bomb on any city if a nation could claim that they had no Holocaust to the to their name, no communist pogrom to their name, no transatlantic slave trade to their name, or they could claim that they were, in fact one of the least politically and

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religiously violent of all of the major world religions. They wouldn't * failed. They would not fail in sharing this with the world at every event, yet these are our claims as Muslims. So where's the dissemination? Where are the efforts in sharing this Subhanallah say you that will Hasson another week,

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an Indian Islamic scholar who died in the year 1999

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And authored around 50 books, one of which was titled Mather, hacia and ILM within hypothec Muslim in what the world lost

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with the decline of the Muslims, that in that book, he examines the role Islam played in history, its impact on human progress and the loss that humanity suffered by its downfall.

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And he emphatically

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refutes the prevailing attitude amidst some that Islam is somehow a spent force, and that it's outlived its usefulness. Actually, he argued, persuasively, the eternal reality of Islam, and that it's a program of life, which is always dynamic and can never grow obsolete.

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So innovative initiatives using our media outlets, where are the the exhibitions? Where are the museums, with these types of titles of Apple Hansen's book, these this is the duty of the hour, not only to harness the Eman and confidence of Muslims, but to also enlighten the world of the lifeline that Islam has offered and continues to offer to the world. That's number two, the element of heritage awareness. Number three, rethinking the Islamic education for our children.

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Whether we wish to accept it or not, our Muslim youth will measure what is right and wrong, largely

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based upon secular and liberal principles. And sometimes they will do that without even noticing. They will do that without realizing why? Well, because from primary school, moving up to secondary, and college, university,

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school media games,

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they're hearing the expressions of individual liberty, freedom of choice, equality repeated over and over again, an expressions of course, are not inherently evil. But with time it begins to shape their moral worldview.

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Now they only live what happens is that they begin to meet Islamic matters that seemingly go against these principles that they've been spoon fed. So for example, the modern world calls for feminism, equality between men and women.

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They then contrast this against Islam call that led academics were huddling on saying women are to receive half the inheritance of a man. Now to this youth at face value, that's simply an unequal distribution.

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At the core of this analysis, what happened He's measuring Islam against a different objective morality that he was fed for a decade can help him, namely, the Western conceptualization of equality.

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And since he hasn't been sufficiently equipped with the Islamic worldview, he will naturally conclude that Islam must be in error. That's one example of the day to day battles of our children, whether we realize it or not give you a second example. The modern world calls for individualism and this is a complicated philosophical position that our children are used like all others have been spoon spoon fed all throughout their lives.

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Then later on in life, they recite an ayah in the Quran, where Allah Almighty says, Yeah, you her nurse, Khadija icon Baja Nomura become, oh humanity.

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There has come to you conclusive evidence from your Lord. Hold on a minute. There was an internal struggle now. They really struggle to accept this. Why? Because the philosophy of individualism has formed their minds to accept that everyone's choice is valid.

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Everyone's choice is okay.

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Whereas the Quran has just made a claim to truth.

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Yet the society that they've grown up in doesn't care about the truth. We're a post truth era. Truth is whatever you want truth to be today.

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So as a result, when Islam claims to be the ultimate truth,

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this young man is conflicted. This young woman is conflicted and the seeds of doubt are are sown within them. Again, whether we realize it or not, these are the day to day battles of young Muslim men and women.

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Now who bear

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Here's the brunt of blame for all of this.

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I would argue that the lion's share of it falls on those who failed to prepare these young men and women for the exposure of college and university life, us as adults, parents in arms, teachers.

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The solution, of course, is a proper Islamic education. But you see, when our children spend two hours a day, for about 10 years of their early life, learning how to recite the Quran,

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you know that there is a fundamental lack of vision in those men and women who are nurturing these youth. I mean, we're not even talking about understanding the language and conversing in it. No. Why should it take a decade to learn how to merely read a language

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because if you start at the correct age, say, eight, nine, it shouldn't take you more than six months to go from an F bapta to an acceptable standard of Quranic recitation.

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But that doesn't happen.

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As a result, what happens is that from around the age of five, to about 15, these youth here in the West were taught no concepts. And by the time they're 1516, pressures of GCSE would have started.

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So they drop out of Quran classes Baba called no time. And then from that point onwards, less than 1% of Muslim students continue any form of Islamic education.

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What does that mean? It means that they arrive at the doorstep of college and university are totally defenseless, from the theological, dogmatic onslaught that awaits them, because they've spent the finest part of their young lives a decade banging their heads with Alif data.

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That doesn't make any sense.

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And to be honest with you, I would even claim that that's a betrayal of the Amana the trust upon parents, imams, community leaders alike.

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Account Based boy speaks of his journey with atheism. And it started in an RV class in school, the teacher posed the question,

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Does God exist, and then divided the class into believing God, a camp and I don't believe in God camp. And he found himself in the other camp, I don't believe in God. And he said I was exposed to arguments against God that I was hearing for the first time in my life. And he had absolutely no training on how to deal with these questions that were definitely going to come his way at one point or another. Sow the seeds of doubt, were placed within his heart, and he was never able to overcome them. He left the religion 10s of stories like this, this, these are the day to day challenges of youth. I mean, the average ar e session will require students to engage in the text, you have to

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understand a position of you and the rival view, that's Islam and otherwise. And if you don't give the other view, you will be downgraded for being uncritical. These are the day to day challenges. They're unprepared. See, it's only by the grace of Allah that many of these young men and women are saved later on in their lives by practicing friends in college, university ISOC MSA is or by simply just shielding their ears, I'm not going to listen to it.

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Okay, this is a blessing. Because that hamdulillah they remained spiritually afloat, they were safe. But that's not the virtuous position of the proactive Muslim,

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the Muslim who had learned their religion and continues to learn their religion, and therefore worships Allah upon begginer evidence worships Allah upon Yaqeen conviction,

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and who is able to actively demonstrate the superiority of Islam to his or her peers. These are the ones who will choose to pick up the Quran, and never let go of it for the rest of their lives.

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As opposed to those who fall whom we are producing today, after 10 years of Quran classes, they drop it

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and you never pick it up for the rest of their lives. It's an issue.

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So courses that deal with Who is Allah? Why does Allah require us to worship him? Why is there evil in the world? What are the proofs of Allah's existence? What are the proofs of prophethood? How do we debunk some of the myths surrounding our Lord and the biography of our Prophet Muhammad? sallallahu alayhi wasallam?

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What are the proofs of the divine nature of the Quran?

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Yes, I agree with you these types of courses that deal with these issues. They do exist and hamdulillah they're increasing but it could be argued that they're not filtering down effectively to that category.

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in that age group that needs it most.

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So it would really be a great suggestion for MedDRA says, Mac Deb's masajid, in consultation with educators to map out a timeline of the educational journey of children, say from five to 16

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and highlight all of the problematic issues that they will be exposed to, throughout that journey may challenge their faith. And then to incorporate within that curriculum that we create for them, an age appropriate reactive and proactive counter narrative within these curriculums of Islamic schools, or even conversations at home, or in the mosques.

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It's either we do that by the way, or we're just leaving our children to chance.

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In conclusion, brothers and sisters, one of the

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defining changes in the British cultural landscape in the past century has been an increasing amount of secularization, and a waning level of spirituality.

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And with this drift away from organized religion, a huge spiritual void has been created. It's leaving scores of people yearning for a higher calling, but they can't find it a higher sense of purpose, a sense of belonging that can fill the vacuum that has been now left within them in the absence of religion.

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So people are looking for things to fill that necessary void and need within us. A UK government inquiry is underway to investigate why between 2009 and 2018, there was over 4,000% increase in children seeking to transition to the opposite sex.

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Is it a coincidence that the contemporary decline in religious identity in the UK correlates with this increase in gender dysphoria, where identity perhaps is sought in a different gender?

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So question to be discussed.

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Again, is it a coincidence that Brighton and Hove, the so called LGBT capital of the UK, happens to have over 55.2% of its citizens stating that they don't follow any religion?

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Is it a coincidence?

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Is it perhaps a search for identity? In the absence of the religious one,

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it's a question to be discussed.

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In fact, the same could be even argued about football.

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Now, for many of us football is, is about releasing a bit of dopamine.

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It's a bit of short term relief from the grind of life. For others, it's a lot more than that a lot more.

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And Britain appears to have turned its back on God, and found compensation in sport.

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Mirroring so many aspects of religion that they need in something else.

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people yearn for the sentiments of love and loyalty and solidarity. These are often associated with religion, but religion is gone now. So in a quest to fill that necessary need of expressing, or an glorification of something. stadiums have replaced places of worship, that prominent figures of clubs are immortalized through statues outside the ground, prayers have been replaced with players.

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Then within the stadiums, players are performing their miracles before their 1000s of believing disciples who have faith in them, who watch on in awe and amazement. And these miracles increase their conviction to remain committed to their team through hardship and ease, absolutely besotted by these athletes whose performances just transcend the capability of ordinary human beings. And then you have the chanting and the singing of club anthems and the face painting and flag waving. What what is that but masks masks to cover a disturbing reality of really hot and discontented souls, who are looking for comfort in illusionary relationships

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that Islam has filled that need for identity that need to glorify and show off something higher. And in the absence of Islam, man will simply shift of Allah to the worship of himself or people.

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And that's why shortly before the Persian Empire fell in the hands of the Muslims, the general of the Persian armies, his name is Otto stone. He requested to speak to a Muslim delegate

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Muhammad was nominated, and he entered upon the court of raw stone just before battle. And Rustom asked Rabbi What brings you to our land?

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Listen to your words of Rabbi, he said locka Deepika Athan Allahu locoregional a bad man or a bad thing or a bad Elijah that your ability bag while enjoying the journey, in our ideal Islam, warming, we could dunya Illa chahatein dunya will occur Allahu Akbar. He said, Allah has sent us to remove people, from the worship of people, to the worship of the Lord of people and to remove them from the injustices of religions, to the justice of Islam,

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and to remove them from the tightness of this life to the expanse of this life and the afterlife.

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The Rostow become Muslim. Nope.

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But you know what? He was fascinated by everybody, by the Muslims. So fascinated that he said to the very when he finished his speech, he said, Are you the Master of the Muslims?

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Of course, at a very wasn't. But likewise, whilst a proud Muslim identity may not necessarily pacify hostility towards Muslims, it will certainly render the world impressed