Healing the alienation of young European Muslims

Learning to be a Peacemaker 2019

30/07/2019

How can the alienation felt by so many young Muslims be healed? Imam Ajmal Masroor believes that the alienation stems largely from the inner conflict generated by feeling caught between two value-systems: the way their parents want them to be, and the way the society they are growing up in wants them to be.

Imam Ajmal Masroor experienced that dilemma himself, and discovered that the key to reconciling these two identities, European and Muslim, lies in the realization that peacemaking is the very heart of Islam. Mohammed, the holy prophet of Islam, said ‘Spread peace among you!’ Imam Masroor designed a five-day ‘Learning to be a Peacemaker’ (LPM) course to help young Muslims discover that secret for themselves.

He delivered it in Caux for the sixth time this summer, to a group of students and young professionals from Albania, France, Turkey, the Ukraine, and the UK – both Muslims and non-Muslims.

In a fast-paced and interactive manner – including a session at the top of a nearby mountain! – Imam Masroor took participants through the key Quranic texts relating to averting war and building peace, and the Prophet Mohammed’s own peacemaking initiatives. Topics included current misconceptions about Islam and what Islam actually teaches about violence and extremism; issues of responsibility and belonging under the heading of ‘Loyalty and citizenship’; the ‘Inner dimensions of peace’ on the sources of inner contentment; and the ‘Characteristics of peacemakers’. The course ended with a session in which each participant designed a project that they will carry out back home.

This was complemented by evening sessions, open to everyone in the house, on such themes as ‘Relationships’, ‘Overcoming barriers’ and ‘Discovering anger’, during which he drew honestly on his own experience.

Imam Masroor appreciates being able to deliver the course in Caux because it provides an opportunity for participants to go on to take part in one of the Caux Forum conferences – in this case Tools for Changemakers. There they can put into practice the peacemaking understanding and skills they have learnt with people of all ages and backgrounds from across Europe and beyond.

 

Maryam Shah

 

At the opening plenary of the Tools for Changemakers conference, Maryam Shah, a law student from the UK, spoke about LPM. ‘The course emphasized the importance of being an active citizen,’ she said. ‘Instead of allowing any feeling of isolation or not fitting in to lead to sadness or violence, we were taught to channel these emotions into something far more constructive, and to work for the societies we live in to become more inclusive, understanding and tolerant. This course has helped me to become a lot more at peace with myself and a lot more excited to be a tool for change and to contribute to the global society that we live in.’

Read Maryam Shah’s summary of the Learning to be a Peacemaker programme

 

Text: Peter Riddell

Photos: Paula Mariane and Leela Channer

Featured Story
Off

related stories

Ignacio India blog

Walking the Talk in Business

On 25 - 28 January, some 60 CEOs and other senior staff came together under Chatham House Rules to share personal experiences on how to balance a sustainable business with integrity and trust. Executi...

Save the date Caux Forum 2024 EN

Caux Forum 2024: Save the Date!

Save the date for the Caux Forum 2024! This summer Caux Initiatives of Change, in partnership with Initiatives of Change International and supported by other civil society networks, UN agencies, phila...

Caux Forum opening square website EN

Filling the gap in global efforts for peace and democracy

The Caux Forum 2023 Opening Ceremony set the tone for the conference with the theme, ‘Strengthening Democracy: The Journey from Trauma to Trust.’. Discover the report and relive the highlights of this...

Tsvetana 13 Sept 2023

Finding purpose and harmony through music and the Caux Palace

In a world filled with diverse cultures and languages, the journey of musician Tsvetana Petrushina is an inspiring tale of how she discovered her purpose. Her remarkable story led her to the Caux Pala...

Save the date 2023 square no date

Caux Forum 2023: Save the Date

We are excited to announce the Caux Forum will be back in Caux next summer! Find out more and save the date! ...

Arpan Yagnik

Arpan Yagnik: Mountains to climb

Arpan Yagnik, a participant of last year's Creative Leadership conference and team member of the IofC Hub 2021, talks to Mary Lean about creativity, fear and vocation. ...

YAP 2021 article square

Young Ambassadors Programme 2021: Learning to listen

When Indonesian law student Agustina Zahrotul Jannah discovered the Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP) on Google she felt both excited and hopeless: excited because she hoped it might give her the skil...

Zero waste square for social media

Sofia Syodorenko: A zero waste lifestyle is a mindful lifestyle

How did Sofia Syodorenko become involved in the zero waste movement, and what does it mean to her? Now Chair of Foundations for Freedom, she is also a representative of the Zero Waste Alliance Ukraine...

YAP goes online

The Young Ambassadors Programme goes online

The Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP) went online for the first time this summer, after six years of continuous growth and development and a pause in 2020 for reflection and adjustment to the new real...

Patrick Magee 600x600

‘Where Grieving Begins – Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb’: a live interview with Patrick Magee

The second in Tools for Changemakers’ series of Stories for Changemakers took place on 25 August 2021, with an interview with Patrick Magee, who planted a bomb at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in 1984, w...

Summer Academy 2021 screenshot square

Forging a network of problem-solvers to build a secure and sustainable future

The Summer Academy on Climate, Land and Security 2021 brought together 29 participants from 20 countries. From Egypt and Senegal to the United States and Thailand, zoom windows opened for six hours ev...

Salima Mahamoudou 21 July 2021 FDFA workshop CDES 2021

Remaking a world in peril

The Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security (CDES) 2021 ran online from 20 July until 30 July, for the second consecutive year, comprising three open plenaries and seven workshops. This year’s discu...

CL 2021 Hope square

A Journey from Uncertainty to Possibility

2021’s Creative Leadership conference took participants on a six-day journey ‘From Uncertainty to Possibility’. Between 25 to 31 July around 150 online participants living in over 50 countries engaged...

FDFA Baobabcowherd-1 Noah Elhardt through WikiCommons square with logos

A pathway to peace and prosperity in West and Central Africa

In the context of their partnership, Initiatives of Change Switzerland (IofC) and the Peace and Human Rights division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs organised a webinar on the them...

LPM report 2021 square

Peacemakers in the making

‘I am super happy to have been part of the Learning to be a Peacemaker course – we learned the true colours of Islam!’ wrote 18-year-old high-school graduate Nma Dahir, from Erbil, capital of the Kurd...