United Kingdom

Currently in the UK, especially amongst the Muslim population, times are hard. Since 9/11, there has been great discussion and debate about Muslims living in the West. There has long been a perception both in the West and in the Muslim world that a ‘˜clash of civilisations’ is inevitable. A Muslim must either be first a believer, or integrate completely into the secular society. This outlook offered a painful choice for Muslims in Britain, America, France, and throughout the West. What in fact is happening is that already in the West, Muslim youths are reshaping their religion into one that is faithful to the principles of Islam, whilst dressed in European and American cultures, and fully rooted in Western societies. Youths are asking themselves whether they are Western Muslims or Muslims in the West. This is the greatest challenge which youths are facing today: living in a society, trying to integrate, yet keeping your religious identity and making sure that nothing opposes the religious fundamentals.

At the moment, England is a very exciting place for young people to be. For the first time, our Government is starting to take interest in youth affairs. There is a huge debate going on about the age at which people should be able to vote. It currently stands at 18 years of age, but there is a possibility that it may be moved to 16 years of age in the future. There is a battle between the politicians who say that young people are apathetic about politics and young people and the groups that represent them who say the opposite. There is also a great deal of discussion going on about who makes decisions for young people. In addition to the Town Councils that exist throughout the country, there is an increasing amount of Youth Councils that work alongside them and offer opinions on facilities and services for young people in the town. These have proved to be very successful, and this in itself is proving that young people take a keen interest in the community and word around them.