Let's Support Our Youth
By Rabia Khedr
Last weekend, I attended the Dawanet Iftar (fast breaking event) at the ISNA Mosque in Mississauga with my husband and four children.
Our 9 year-old daughter was a part of a group of students at Understanding Islam Academy‘s summer program making a presentation at the event.
The hall was packed, not only because the Iftar was free, but, also, because Dawanet has mobilized young Muslims as volunteers and participants through their many innovative initiatives.
As an activist who believes in community development, not community construction, I was impressed with the event and the cause.
For the record, let me re-state that I am against the constant fund-raising that goes on to build and expand castles for fallen kings, in other words, schools and centres that do not meet the needs of the masses in our community.
This fund-raiser was different.
Social and recreational programs alongside learning Islam while having fun is crucial if we are to compete with the endless adventure and entertainment offered through television and online games.
Research supports the fact that technology is changing how the brain learns and processes information in the current and coming generations.
We have to change the way we teach the religion to engage children and youth today.
If we do not get with the times, we cannot complain about generations going astray.
It was refreshing to hear that the folks at Dawanet get that and are applying innovative and creative approaches to teach and showcase Islam.
As a community, we generously fork out cash for bricks and mortar, hence the numerous Islamic Centres and schools that take up millions of our hard earned dollars to meet the needs of 10% of our children.
I would guesstimate that 10% of our charity dollars might end up in the hands of organizations trying to address issues of 90% of our children.
I am glad to see that a small pot of donations are stretched to do research, consult the community, develop programs that have a significant impact on the community and society as a whole.
We are not immune to social diseases like abuse, addiction, identity crises and poverty just because we are Muslim.
Thank you Dawanet for naming these and other issues that plague us and the society around us, as well as, backing up your claims with researched facts.
MuslimFest being the ultimate example of Dawanet’s work, I expect that a youth friendly facility is sure to be an ultimate example of getting our institutions into the modern era.
Let’s put our money where our youth are.
And, let me plug accessibility into the plan.
*Rabia Khedr is the Executive Director at CAM-D – Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities and Principal Consultant at diversityworX