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

Caux Palace view night

Climate and the economy in the post-COVID world

As pandemic-related lockdowns and travel restrictions slowly begin to ease and a return to normal life seems nearer at hand, we are at a critical juncture as to how we choose to act towards our enviro...

Nazarene Mannie

My Learning Story: Nazrene Mannie

Nazrene Mannie is the Executive Director of the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) and talks about her learning experiences. Our interview series 'My Learning Story’ hopes to become a global learning...

Daniel Clements

From personal change to conference leadership: Daniel Clements

Daniel Clements, the coordinator for this year’s Creative Leadership conference, would not have become involved with Initiatives of Change Switzerand without his father, who recommended that he attend...

Sezan Eyrich

‘[Borders] are actually quite fragile – they are only built on the idea that we cannot connect to ourselves and to others’

In 2018, Sezan Eyrich spent a semester in Warsaw, studying political science and searching for a comfortable way to discuss political issues. When a friend recommended the Tool for Change Young Ambass...

COVID 19 slider EN square

The Caux Forum is going online!

Our team together with the international IofC Network is working hard to give you an online 2020 Caux Forum, trying to get you as close as possible to the “Caux experience”. Although we will not be ab...

COVID 19 slider EN final

COVID-19 : The Caux Forum 2020 is being transformed

In light of the global health crisis surrounding coronavirus, as well as its organizational and financial implications, the Council of Initiatives of Change Switzerland has decided to adapt the Caux F...

Caux_Palace_Sunset

Job offers for the Caux Forum 2020

For the Caux Forum 2020 IofC Switzerland is looking for a Dining-room Manager, a Cash Desk Manager, a Buffet Manager, an Allocation Manager and a Support Team Manager....

Open House Day group with kids

Internship: Open House Day & Project Support (40%)

IofC Switzerland is looking for an intern who will be in charge of the Open House Day on 5 July 2020. The intern will also support IofC's projects in the area of trustbuilding, in particular with rega...

Caux Palace, credit: Paula Mariane

3 Job Offers: Dining-Room Assistant / Technical Services Assistant / Reception Desk Assistant

You would like to work in an inspring place with people from all over the world? IofC Switzerland is looking for a Reception Desk Assistant, a Technical Services Assistant and a Dining-room Assistant...

Michael Akampa

Making investment work for the people

The Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) in 2017 was a ‘turning point’ for sustainable investment professional, Micheál Akampa, who was invited to speak at its Invest in Peace conference. ‘I met ...

CDLS 2019 Tom Duncan

Empowering communities to restore mangroves

Tom Duncan is CEO of Earthbanc and passionate about problem solving and strategic systems thinking, primarily in regenerative economics, green finance and financial technology, as a means of restoring...

Nhat Vhuong

Plucking water from the air

Webmarketing consultant and social entrepreneur Nhat Vhuong is passionate about tackling water scarcity. A Vietnamese refugee, who grew up in Switzerland, he worked in Japan for eight years before ret...

Meghalaya CDLS 2019 Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya’s lighthouses of sustainable development

‘Our goal in Meghalaya is to build a low-carbon economy through complete involvement and ownership of communities,’ Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, told the opening session of the Caux...

CDLS 2019 Chau Duncan

Bridging the financial divides

Chau Tang Duncan is applying over 20 years’ experience in banking, trade and commercial diplomacy to improving the financial access of disadvantaged communities. ...

Aibanshngain Swer CDLS 2019

Protecting Meghalaya’s water sources

Some billion people rely on water sourced in the hills of Meghalaya, in North East India. One of those responsible for water conservation in the State, Aibanshngain Swer, took part in the Summer Acade...