Netherlands: Youth want more support to practice Islam

Muslim youth think that they don't get enough support to develop their faith in the Netherlands.  They think that society often doesn't give room to 'their Islam' and that they must practice tricks in order to do what they want as Muslims.  For example, they must pray furtively during breaks in school or work.

This according to a study "Youth and their Islam" ('Jongeren en hun islam') by the Verwey-Jonker Institute published Thursday.  The youth do need counseling, such as coaching relating to difficult questions about Islam or insults.  They also want more accessible mosques (also for women), educational support and meditation areas in schools and companies.  Currently the Internet or friends, who also don't know everything, form the most important support

The place occupied by faith varies sharply among the study participants.  In general the youth think it's possible to be Muslim in the Netherlands, but that the Islam debate and the negative treatment give the feeling that aren't always accepted as full citizens.

In particular young Moroccan women who want to practice Islam more strictly and cover up more, experience life as a Muslim in the country as a relatively tough task.  Taking part in society comes more harder to them, they feel treated differently and misunderstood.  They also think that it's hard being themselves and take a gloomy view of their opportunities in the work market.

For that matter, the support should come not only from the regular organizations or from the mosque, according to the researchers.  Personal initiative is also of great importance.  The respondents warned of a victim-mentality.  Particularly young, practicing Muslims run the risk of ending up in a downward spiral, mostly caused by the negative attitude of society towards Islam.

The youth think that religion can't be an alibi to stay on the sidelines.  There will only be regulations regarding Islamic holidays, for example, if you start talks.  They also think that society should be better informed about Islam and the regular lives of Muslims.  They think that Islam should sounds themselves more and inform themselves better about society, participate and contribute to the bridging of the rift.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch), Study page (Dutch)

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Iftikhar Ahmad said...
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