Identity and Secular Lifestyle in the West

Question and answer details
J. K.
Identity and Secular Lifestyle in the West
Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Living in Europe where the religious debate is quite hot, it is difficult for many Muslim youngsters to adhere to Islamic teachings,espacially with regards to gender interaction (inter-sex friendships), wearing hijab, going out clubbing, etc. Moreover, the pressure from some powerful non-Muslims is immense: They require from Muslims to also become secular in their lifestyle and leave Islam to just holidays, etc. How can we approach this issue? And what about the next generation? Jazakum Allahu khayran.
Ahmad Kutty
Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Thanks a lot for your question that emanates from a thoughtful heart. May Allah Almighty help us all adhere to the principles of this true religion, Islam, and enable us to be among the dwellers of Paradise in the Hereafter, Amen.

Muslims living in the West should do their best to keep their Muslim identity and to take care of the new generations. Muslim communities in the West should have their Islamic schools, centers, counselors, etc. Awareness among the youth should be raised to realize how to be good Muslim citizens living by Islam and respecting the law of the country.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, stated,

Muslim parents, leaders, and imams must take this issue as the greatest challenge to address. They should think through and work out practical strategies to deal with this challenge if we hope to keep the Islamic identity of our new generations. Let me suggest some immediate steps:

1. We should provide halal alternatives for our youth that would take them away from such haram outlets;

2. We should make our children and youth busy with practical and interesting projects that would make them busy;

3. Our mosques and Islamic centers should be made youth-friendly; it should have youth on board to devise programs to attract the youth;

4. We should have our own counselors and social workers to deal with youths and their issues and to provide them with counseling;

5. We should set up mentors for our youth who would act as role models and inspirations for them.

Lastly, homes should be made congenial to make the youth feel at home. This would require training the parents in creative parenting methods.