By Junaid Ahmed, East London Mosque

In the bustling streets of inner London, there resides an untapped potential, a vibrant energy waiting to be harnessed – the Muslim youth. With their unique blend of cultural heritage and British upbringing, these young individuals are at the crossroads of tradition and modernity. However, to ensure that they grow into confident, informed and active members of society, we must invest in their empowerment today.

Empowering the next generation goes beyond just providing academic opportunities. It’s about holistic development, which includes fostering a solid sense of identity, nurturing leadership skills and creating platforms for active community engagement. Our Mosques and Islamic Centres must become beacons of hope and hubs for our young people, and our doors should always be open to them for their spiritual and mental development to become the future leaders of tomorrow. Here are some examples of how we can help them:

1. Fostering a Strong Sense of Identity: Muslim youth often grapple with dual identities in a multicultural city like London, Birmingham or Manchester. We can help them navigate this complex landscape by integrating Islamic teachings with British values such as the rule of law, respect for other faiths and none, and human rights. Organising workshops and seminars that delve into Islamic history, culture and religious teachings can offer clarity and build a solid foundation for personal growth. A dual identity should be seen as a positive that allows our young people to draw upon teachings from multiple perspectives.

2. Nurturing Leadership Skills: The leaders of tomorrow are among us today and need the right tools to shine. Leadership programmes tailored for the Muslim youth can help them develop critical skills like communication, decision-making and problem-solving. We can prepare them for future roles in community service, business and other sectors by simulating real-world challenges.

3. Creating Platforms for Active Community Engagement: Active participation in community initiatives allows the youth to apply their skills, learn from real-life experiences and make a tangible difference. By establishing mentorship programmes, volunteering opportunities and community projects, we can ensure they are not just passive recipients but active citizens in civil society.

With its diversity and dynamism, the rich tapestry of inner London, for example, offers a nurturing ground for innovation and growth. But to unlock this potential, we must prioritise empowering our youth. By providing them with the right resources, guidance and opportunities, we can ensure that they thrive individually and contribute positively to the broader community playing their part as citizens.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best of you are those who bring the most benefit to others.” Empowering our youth sets the stage for a generation that embodies this ethos, leading with compassion, integrity and purpose.