Sunday, June 8, 2008

CONF.- Muslim Youth: Challenges, Opportunities and Expectations, Chester, UK, Aug. 15-17

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

CONF.- Muslim Youth: Challenges, Opportunities and Expectations, UK, Aug. 15-17

Posted by: Mohammad S.Seddon <>

Muslim Youth: Challenges, Opportunities and Expectations

Organised Jointly: AMSS UK and the University of Chester.
Venue: Chester University, UK, 15-17 August 2008

The modern world presents a series of complex, conflicting scenarios
and possibilities for young people and in particular young Muslims.
Many Muslim societies display a "youth bulge", where more than half of
their populations are under the age of 25, a demographic reality
mirrored in Muslim communities living in the West. An increasingly
globalised western culture is rapidly eroding traditional ideas about
society, from the family to the state. At the same time, rampant
materialism is creating a culture of spiritual emptiness in which
demoralisation and pessimism easily find root. For young Muslims these
challenges are compounded by a growing sense of alienation as they
face competing ideologies and divergent lifestyles. Muslim youth are
often idealised as the "future of Islam" or stigmatised as rebelling
against their parental values and suffering "identity crises". These
experiences can produce both positive and negative reactions, from
intellectual engagement, social interaction and increasing spiritual
maturity to emotional rejectionism, immersion in narrow identity
politics and violent extremism. However, it is clear that the optimism
of most young Muslims is best nurtured in an environment of
opportunity, where ambitions and aspirations can exist as an
achievable reality. But at the social and political levels,
opportunity crucially depends on the existence of both equality and
inclusivity, as well as the vision and determination within the
community and the establishment to tackle educational
underachievement. This conference seeks to discuss the central issues
currently facing young Muslims both locally and globally and seeks to
engage with academics, educationalists, psychologists, social
commentators, youth work practitioners and interested institutions and
organisations at the national and international levels.

We invite papers that address but are not limited to the following themes:

* Classical and modern understandings of youth in Islam
* Theorising Muslim Youth
* Contrasting Muslim youth experiences in majority and minority
Muslim societies

* Globalisation of Western consumer youth cultures
* Detraditionalisation and secularisation
* Reconciling competing demands from 'home, school, street, and mosque'
* Alienation, marginalisation and discrimination
* Social problems and cultural taboos
* Educational underachievement
* Over-emphasis on a narrow range of occupations
* Issues of well-being and mental health, e.g. happiness/depression,
optimism/pessimism, meaningfulness/nihilism,
* Disconnection of urban youth from the natural world
* Youth and anti-social behaviour
* Identity, belonging and loyalty
* Vulnerability to violent and extremist ideologies

* Reclaiming authentic Islamic spirituality and human values
* Hybridised youth identities
* Youth as agents of positive change and improvement in society as a
whole, through:
a) Proposing constructive solutions instead of being perceived as
"a problem"
b) responsible civic engagement
c) building networks with people of goodwill from all communities
d) advocating and promoting social and economic justice, ethical
business, creative philanthropy, stewardship models of management,
protection of the environment, etc.
e) achieving excellence in professions which influence public opinion
and public policy (e.g. the media) and create future opinion formers
and thought leaders (e.g. education at all levels)
f) becoming role models in caring professions (e.g. health care)
g) driving and articulating key research on social issues
* Visibility and activism of young Muslim women
* Advancement of holistic education to nurture full range of human
potential amongst young people - intellectual, aesthetic, physical,
moral and spiritual
* Reconnecting with nature and the countryside
* Re-animating an Islamic conception of beauty
* Emerging youth cultures, e.g. 'Islamic Cool' i.e. Nasheed & Rap
* Development of new types of religious identity
* Ground breaking service based projects and educational initiatives


We invite submissions for 20 minute presentations. Submissions should
not have been published previously as selected papers will be included
in a Conference proceedings publication.

Please submit a 200 word abstract of the paper with an application form
to the following e-mail: by 15th June 2008.

Decisions on which papers will be included in the conference program
will be announced by the organizers by the end of July, and the
information will be sent by e-mail. Selection of the papers will be made
on the basis of quality and relevance to the conference themes.

Sadek Hamid
Muslim Youth Work Programme Leader
Department of Theology & Religious Studies
University of Chester
Parkgate Road

01244 511 031/07947 792 784

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