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5 Ways to Protect Your Teen from Joining ISIS

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By Walid Darab

Terrorist groups like ISIS use social media like Twitter to recruit young impressionable minds. They rely on teens who have a “restrictive” household and offer them lies like “freedom, excitement, purpose and belonging.” Teens tend to fall for these lies because their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. They cannot fully and intelligently judge anything into the future.

As a father of a 15-year-old teenage girl, I feel for the parents of runaway teens, especially Muslim teens who feel the need to join a terrorist group like ISIS. After the recent news of the 3 teens who ran away from their London homes to join ISIS, I found no other option but to express my thoughts on this matter.

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I thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to host a podcast that reaches tens of thousands of listeners worldwide. Being blessed with such a platform, I feel it would be a disservice if I did not express my thoughts on this very sensitive and important topic.

This is not meant to be a “quick fix” blog post. Parenting is a life long endeavor and this post is just a reminder to parents.

5 Ways To Protect Your Teen From Joining ISIS

1. Proper Parenting

Good parenting strengthens the bond between parent and child. This might seem like common sense but unfortunately it isn’t. Two key ingredients in good parenting are patience and respect.

Being patient is a crucial part of being a successful parent. Understand that every single child learns in a uniquely different way. Every child absorbs and processes information differently. If one child is a straight-A student, don’t be surprised if the other isn’t. That doesn’t mean he/she is dumb. It could mean that the other child has a different learning style – more attention, more time, less distractions, etc.

Respect is also crucially important. Parents usually think the child must respect them without reciprocation. If children learn from their parents, how can they learn to respect if they don’t see their parents respecting them? Remember, that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) never disrespected anyone, let alone children. A child deserves to be treated fairly. Being a “dictator parent” that always says “no” will only make the child rebel. It’s important to note that the acts of rebellion don’t necessarily become noticed immediately. It could take years. This will open their mental doors to outside influence (i.e. ISIS recruiters). I believe the term “rebel” is even a negative word. Teens are learning independence. Parents should not resist this, but help direct teens.

I highly recommend the following two books. They completely changed my outlook as a father, parent and husband:

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Do Fathers Matter? by Paul Raeburn

2. Understanding Islam

Patience comes with knowledge and understanding. As Khidr told Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him):

And how can you have patience about things which your understanding is not complete? (18:68)

Parents must take it upon themselves to learn and understand their religion. Not only to perform the obligatory acts like praying and fasting, but also the wide range of topics that their children will ask them about. Whenever my daughter asks me about something, I immediately go through my mental “rolodex” of Quran, Hadith and stories. The Quran and Hadith provide so much applicable information that, in most cases, I can perfectly answer my daughter and, at the same time, educate her.

As your children grow into teens, they will run into social issues that are potentially un-Islamic. This is when all those ahadith that you educated them on start to act as reminders of the Islamic boundaries. In turn, they will have a higher appreciation and respect for you. This instills a love and connection between parent and child. It is also very important that during these times when your teen comes home to tell you their day at school, you be very attentive on how your child reacted to whatever social pressure they faced. Acknowledge their decision and respect their judgment. Don’t forget that their judgment is maturing so they will make mistakes. That is perfectly fine, as that is part of growing up.

3. Instilling Self-Worth and a Sense of Belonging

Instilling self-worth and a sense of belonging comes with time. Sometimes as parents we want our kids to “change now” but, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. If parents do not take it upon themselves to be patient and instill these values in their kids then someone else will. One way to help instill a sense of self-worth and belonging in your child is to ask for their opinion on family related matters. Below are a few examples of what I mean:

We plan on purchasing a new car, are there any cars you think we should test drive?

We plan on buying some new furniture, would you like to look online at a few items?

Yes, I know that these seem like common sense questions but I am surprised at how many parents do not incorporate their children’s opinions in family matters.

Value their capabilities, judgments, and opinions, and educate them in secular and religious matters. Religious education is wonderful, but do not be of the mindset that as long as you take your child to an “Islamic school” they will turn out to be great Muslims.

Religious education is instilled at home first.

4. Limit and Monitor Social Media

It’s not only crucial that parents know who their children’s friends are and where they are spending their free time, but also monitor their social media and internet usage. Of course this is hard in today’s world. Kids have access to the internet and social media at such a young age. If you allow them to use social media, have them choose ONE social media platform and only stick with that. If they decide to go with another one (which they will later) then they need to make a choice: deactivate the current one and create a new one, or stick with old one.

Parents must monitor every single friend request. Pre-teens and teenagers are extremely impressionable, making them extremely vulnerable to their peers. It is absolutely crucial to watch their internet and social media activities at this very vulnerable age. Teens just want to be loved and treated with respect. They need the most love when they are pushing you away. Bad behaviors are cries for attention.

We highly recommend Ourpact. It’s a mobile app that makes monitoring your child’s phone extremely easy!

5. Ask Him

Make duaa that Allah keeps your children on the right path. You must get as specific in your duaa as possible. Understand that Allah is in control of every single thing. Nothing happens without His knowledge. As it says in the Quran:

Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. (6:59)

Being conscious of this fact is absolutely necessarily when making duaa. We must constantly remind ourselves that He knows all. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Make sincere prayer and duaa asking the Protector to Protect, and He will.

Tune in to the podcast discussing this topic.


 

Walid DarabWalid Darab is the founder of the “Greed for Ilm” podcast. He created the podcast in 2013 after realizing the lack of Muslim hosted podcasts that address everyday issues Muslims face in the West. The “Greed for Ilm” podcast provides a platform for independent journalists, authors, musicians, and clinical experts to spread knowledge along with personal stories. Currently, his weekly podcast has a total social media reach well over half a million (500,000+) – supporters and listeners combined.

Walid is a Database Administrator and has over 15 years of experience in IT. He is a loving husband and proud father of two wonderful children. Walid and his family currently reside in Northern Virginia. 
 
You can follow him on Twitter @greedforilm and listen to the podcast on iTunes or http://greedforilm.com

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Rafia

    March 9, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Jazaak Allah khair for discussing on this topic and going back to the roots of parenting. A much needed reminder

    • Walid

      March 9, 2015 at 7:31 PM

      My pleasure! We often times forget about the roots and wonder why our fruits are “spoiled.” That’s why I stress the importance of parenting.

  2. Hassan

    March 9, 2015 at 2:30 PM

    Keep passports in safe place?

    • Walid

      March 9, 2015 at 7:29 PM

      That’s a given! :) But there are other ways they can run away.

  3. Saba

    March 10, 2015 at 3:30 PM

    Sometimes I notice a strong degree of isolation and a lack of communication between parents and children. Perhaps this is just something from my own muslim community in the US, but I think these play a role everywhere.

    Being good parents—muslim or not—means educating your children and empowering them to make the right decision wherever they are. Instead I see isolation, just like with limiting social media in this article. With twitter, tumblr, facebook, google+, is it really going to help that you’ve limited your child to one platform (barring younger teens)? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree social media interactions must be monitored. But social media can be just as much about self-expression and can have both positive and negative impacts. If you isolate your child on social media, how will that translate into real life? Is the isolation your child feels online leading to isolation from people at school, or vice-versa? I think this feeling of isolation is what leads to children seeking out other communities like ISIS—they don’t feel like they belong. And when you don’t feel like you belong you feel hopeless and very much alone. This is a vulnerable position for anyone, child or adult.

    Perhaps a better way is to have a genuine conversation with your son or daughter and show them how valued they are, like how you mentioned involving them in home decisions. If you live in an area where muslims are the minority, show them the importance of supporting your community, both muslim and non-muslim. Volunteering at a local food pantry or shelter, for example, has lots of benefits: increasing feelings of self-worth and community for your son or daughter, showing people that muslims can be wonderful people (we know this but others might not!) and hellooo it’s volunteering and that’s always good.

    It’s the same way with being halal and avoiding haraam things; you can’t just stop your kids from going to restaurants with friends because there’s haraam foods—this only increases isolation and both your child and the local community lose. But teaching them the value of eating halal empowers them to go to the restaurant, choose worthwhile friends, order a vegetarian dish and be an active part of the muslim and non-muslim community.

    • Paul Ogden

      March 13, 2015 at 12:25 AM

      Saba,

      Yes, much effective communication with children is needed in order to gain their respect and admiration for your parental love and real friendship. Another thing is to teach them the value of the internet for righteous endeavors, seeking the truth and wholesome knowledge. There can be enough enjoyable truth seeking to displace the lies of Satan’s onslaught. The teenager won’t find life “on the street” any different than life “online” if taught how to beware and both environments. Ultimately, service to other people outside of our immediate circles will help them learn the value of life and of every being, even the ones making their own mistakes.
      God is the judge and the forgiver. We are the servers.

    • Walid

      March 14, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      You make some great points! Like you said, the terrible disconnect between parents and teens is increasingly harmful. Our role is to empower them and social media can be a positive and negative outlet for self expression. I do not believe teens should be restricted access. Self expression and connecting with their peers is developmentally important. An analogy I once heard is teens are figuratively driving cars and easily speed, yet are still learning how to use the breaks. We need to help them learn how to use the breaks. In no way, do I want my child or any other child to feel lonely and alone but anyone can have hundreds of “ friends” on social media and still feel lonely. Getting teens involved in the community is wonderful! Thanks for your comment!

  4. Oxygen

    March 11, 2015 at 2:09 AM

    Can you write an article on how to protect our children from joining western armies?

    • ncba

      March 13, 2015 at 2:14 AM

      Talk about how reasonable people work out their conflicts using logic and compromise. An intelligent person does not try to solve problems by killing or force because ultimately that won’t work. It only generates hostility that leads to more fighting.
      Also, see that they get a good education. Make sure that they are doing well in school. Get them help if they need it, Be in contact with their teachers. The top kids in any class do not go into the military. They go to universities and get good jobs. It’s the sludge at the bottom of the class that goes into the military.

      • Walid

        March 14, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        Well said ncba! Education is the seed of a civilized society. Fighting should only be done in a clear case of defending life.

  5. M.Mahmud

    March 11, 2015 at 8:38 PM

    Not having a fully developed brain =/= any lack of accountability. People are accountable once they hit puberty and can even marry and engage in sexual relations and parent children in the Sharia. So whoever wishes to join a backstabbing gang of killers has no exemption before Allah”my brain wasn’t fully developed”. Whether Allahs shows lenience or not is His decision for any human of any age. Scientists may help us understand the behavior of teens- in no way can such findings be used to excuse teen behavior. Teenagers are absolutely responsible for what they do regardless of whatever the kaffir West tells them. In this society, false conclusions are drawn from scientific research.

    • Walid

      March 14, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      Yes, as you stated, scientists help us understand the behavior of teens and is not meant to excuse teenage behavior. On the contrary, it is knowledge for adults to understand and help guide them away from making poor choices. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Yusuf Smith

    March 12, 2015 at 4:42 AM

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    We should be wary of using neuroscience to dismiss or discredit a young person’s actions or opinions — current liberal opinion commonly uses their “underdeveloped prefrontal cortex” to undermine young people’s opinions and this could just as easily be turned against them when they wear hijab or convert to Islam against their parents’ wishes. It is only when they go against older people’s demands or expectations that this bit of ‘science’ is brought into play. Islamic law regards teenagers (those above puberty) as adults, not children, and it was the norm for girls, and some boys, to be married during that time. Also, as the education system is a sacred cow for modern ‘civilisation’, the idea that the school environment itself is the cause of young people’s sometimes erratic behaviour is never considered.

    Plenty of older people have joined ISIS, much as was the case with al-Qa’ida before them. Very often the prominent ones were loners or troubled young men, with learning difficulties in one or two cases, but there was always a body of supporters for these movements of all ages.

    What these girls did took a lot of planning, whether by them or someone else; some reports say they stole relatives’ jewellery to pay for air fares in cash. It was not an impulsive action at all and they must have found ways of keeping their preparations secret. This could have involved using temporary pay-as-you-go SIM cards (easily obtained), cybercafes instead of their mobile phones or home internet connections, and where they lived was within easy reach of at least one Apple Store, where there is free internet. It’s significant that they their families don’t seem to be aware of their having any interest in extremist politics before they disappeared.

    We also shouldn’t assume that our children are all at risk of joining ISIS or any other extremist group. (They are at greater risk at university than while still at school.) The number that have run away and joined is tiny; it’s just well-known at the moment because it’s in the news. We shouldn’t be treating our young people with the same suspicion as the outside media do (oh, she got more religious/started wearing hijab — must be getting ready to bomb somewhere/join ISIS!) and placing undue restrictions on their liberties or movements because of a fear of something that probably will not happen, when there are no signs of it happening. If your relative is stealing from you, drug or gambling addiction is a more likely reason than that they are preparing to run away and join ISIS.

    • Walid

      March 14, 2015 at 9:55 AM

      I agree that the school environment itself can lead to a young person’s erratic behavior. We must remember that education does not always take place in schools. First and foremost, we as parents are our children’s first teachers. Becoming more religious does not mean the teen is fanatical. I hope no parents are suspicious of their teen for the only reason is that the teen is practicing Islam better. Thank you for your comment!

  7. alrayyes

    March 12, 2015 at 4:48 AM

    While I largely agree with the article, the point about limiting and monitoring social media is just silly.

    Firstly, it’s unenforceable. Even if you take draconian measures the kid can just login on his phone in incognito mode using an alias. Even if your kid is dimwitted enough not to be able to circumvent those silly parental control programs you cannot control all the computers (s)he has access to.

    Secondly, when does this monitoring end? It’s a severe breach of your kids privacy to have you monitoring their social media after a certain age.

    The only real thing you can do after a certain age is have a frank discussion with your kid and before that discussion raise him/her right so that they can make their own decisions. All you really do by deploying these big brother tactics is create more venues for your kid to keep secrets from you. At the end of the day kids are going to do what they want to do, and they’re going to look things up especially if you make a make too big a deal about making them taboo.

    It’s funny. Until last year parents only had the porn talk to look forward to. Now they have the isis talk. Makes you wonder what’s next. The internet really could be the fitnah that reaches every household that’s talked about in the hadith.

  8. rumey

    March 12, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    I believe you tell the child what’s right and what’s wrong, and trust them to take the correct decision. In my experience (of observing others) the stricter and dominant parents children always seem to veer away more.

    The media just blows up the Muslim children joining the ISIS issue. We should be more worried about our children joining the atheists.

    • Walid

      March 12, 2015 at 10:46 PM

      I agree that the strict household can cause dangerous repercussions. I am not advocating an “authoritative” parenting style. I believe parents need to be encouraging and not controlling. Granted I still stand by my point, social media is a slippery slope and can be harmful to teens as well as adults. Social media should be allowed but with limits set. Thank you for your comment!

      • Michelle

        March 13, 2015 at 6:32 AM

        Assalaamu alaikum, thank you for a very nice article. As a convert who is raising a 3rd generation of North American Muslims, I would like to expand on your point about referring to Quran and hadith to clarify one’s outlook and derive judgements. That propensity is the main method employed by extremists to confuse, deceive and misguide people. Unqualified people making literal, dogma-oriented interpretations of Quran, usually with culture-based renditions of hadith, is very dangerous. We have to remember that nearly all of the religious literature that is available to us is produced, censored or monitored by the same political entity that created the basis for the false, unIslamic ideology that fuels the terrorists’ propaganda machine. You and your family should become aquainted with at least 1 non-Saudi educated scholar and follow the methods of critical thinking and scholarly inquiry employed by the great imams such as imam Abu Hanifa. This, hopefully, will protect you and your family from being duped or tricked into being emotionally manipulated and from believing that anybody can come to their own conclusions about Islam and there’s nothing anybody can offer to help expand or improve on the understanding that’s being fed to us. Barack Allah feekum.

  9. Hanufa

    March 12, 2015 at 5:55 PM

    We seem to forget that children are more mature in this generation especially when they see everything negative regarding Islam on media. However, we as parents should become friends with our children and discuss various topics. As a single mother myself, I have sat with my son’s friends and have discussed many topics. Mash Allah, I can tell you that just by doing this I can tell a lot about their manners. Apparently, they have never had discussion’s like this with their own parents! This shows the importance of having open dialogue with our children.

    • Walid

      March 12, 2015 at 10:32 PM

      That is wonderful that you take the time to sit down with your son and his friends. Unfortunately, I believe many parents do not have discussions with their children until it is too late. Trust is hard to build and needs to develop before your kids are teens. You seem to be one adult, who they can turn to in times of need. Thank you for your comment!

  10. Joan

    March 12, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    I’m not a follower of Islam. But I notice after reading Walid’s interesting article that good parenting is good parenting – knowing what your children are up to, being patient and available to listen, allowing them a certain level of independence, expecting that they will make some mistakes along the way. Each of us shares our own values according to our own beliefs and cultures, but apart from the religious books used by Walid to support his ideas, there is nothing here that is not common to all concerned and loving parents of all youngsters. Thank you for the reminder of how we are all basically the same human beings, hoping for peace and for the best for our children.

    • Walid

      March 12, 2015 at 10:22 PM

      Yes, we all share the common bond of parenting and strive to raise our children to be upright individuals. You’re right, however, we must expect for them to mistakes along the way. Let us realize that we are not perfect and neither will our children be. Thank you for your comment.

  11. Beth

    March 13, 2015 at 12:21 AM

    I think this article contains very sound parental advise for any parent who follows the One, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew. His message transcends our religions.

    Of course if adolescents are not respected by their parents, they grow rebellious and are inclined to break out and get in trouble. Kudos to the author for giving concrete examples of how to respect your teen by soliciting their opinions! It would have made a world of difference to me if my parents had done so, but they did not.

    It was only once I got a job and felt respected by my employer that my crisis passed.

    • Walid

      March 14, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      Thank you Beth! I, too, was raised in a household where my opinion did not matter. I hope others have benefitted from this post as well.

  12. Rashad

    March 13, 2015 at 1:26 AM

    Is it bad that I find the title hilarious?

  13. Mariam

    March 13, 2015 at 2:51 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    First of all, make du’a to Allah to protect your children. How come this is the last point? This should be the first point.

    Limiting the Internet to one platform only? And monitoring their Facebook/twitter/Pinterest/tumblr/ …? If your children’s friends came home, would you eavesdrop on their conversations? Develop a good relationship with your children AND their friends.

    Whether you are computer literate or not (and many parents are NOT computer literate), there is a point where your teens will become more literate than you. In fact, if you are literate, the children will know the dangers but also the tricks of the Internet from your good parenting and will soon outpace you. If your kids go to school, they will learn all the ways to trick their parents. This has always been the case, whether there was Internet or no. Some put those tricks into action, some don’t.

    I think that the advice that Umar bin al-Khattaab (radhi Allahu anhu) gave is still golden in our time: “Play with them for 7 years, teach them for 7 years and be their friends for 7 years”. If you are their friend, you spend time with them, you advice them, you don’t snoop on them.

    • Walid

      March 14, 2015 at 9:56 AM

      The points I listed where in no specific order. Making du’a to Allah (swt) is expected by any and all Muslims. I believe some parents need to realize that monitoring social media is not the same as eavesdropping on your teen and their friends. Teens are connecting with OLDER STRANGERS online. These strangers are taking advantage of your child. They are capable of manipulating your teen. This is extremely dangerous! Teens do not have the life experiences to adequately deal with certain situations. Our job is to protect them. I do thank you for your comment and even more thank you for the reminder of Umar bin al-Khattab (raa)’s advice.

  14. Joseph Ali

    March 13, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    The American in me (born and raised, flag-waving, love and loyalty to the Constitution and the ideas codified in the Declaration of Independence) wants to respond with, “What is this crap?” but the Muslim in me only says, “May you seek forgiveness from Allah for your spread of false propaganda in your service to the tyrannical corrupt ruling class. If my teenager wishes to be a revolutionary against the control of the tyranny of the corrupt ruling class in this country and abroad, then I have done proper parenting. May peace be upon you, brother.”

    • Salma

      March 13, 2015 at 1:56 PM

      There is something admirable about people, including youth, standing up to oppression and struggling to help others who are oppressed.

      However, any such protest has to be done in the way of the Sunnah.

      ISIS is a group of evil criminals who are behaving in complete contradiction to the way of our Prophet (s.a.w.). Even my tween and teen children recognize that ISIS is a group of tyrants not following Islam in any way, shape or form, not just because they are flagrantly oppressing & killing both non-Muslims and Muslims alike, but because of their arrogance in all matters political.

      Alhamdulillah, I am grateful to Allah that as practicing Muslims my children immediately recognized the lack of deen in ISIS, and that they are shocked ISIS has support from any Muslims. And Allah knows best.

      (Note there is some evidence that the ISIS founders &/or leaders may be Mossad agents…)

  15. Fahad

    March 13, 2015 at 6:17 PM

    This is good to know. I need to protect my little siblings.

  16. khursida

    March 14, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    Zazakal lah hul khairun.its a very good remainder of how to treat our kids .Thank you may ALLAH bless you n your family in this world n hereafter

  17. Iftikhar Ahmad

    March 14, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    When a native Brit goes to Middle East, he is called a voluntary fighter. When a Muslim goes there he is called a terrorist. Double standard by the British society. Also lot of British Jews went to Israel to fight but on their return no action was taken against them.

    The three Jihadi Muslim girls and the Jihadi John were in a wrong place at a wrong time in a non-Muslim school with non-Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. They suffer from identity crises. They are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. They were not radicalised at a non-Muslim school, says principal. But the school with non-Muslim teachers are responsible to create identity crises. Muslim children must be in state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Why should we be surprised? They have gone through a rotten education system where there is no consequences for anything and they have grown up in a rather pathetic, wet nation with a liberal criminal justice system which actually seems to view law upholding people with pure contempt. Jihadi John has been identified, tried and convicted by the media. Surely this would prejudice any criminal case against him. In my opinion, he was also radicalised by MI5. To stop radicalisation of teens we need to find out the cause. We will get no where if all we do is just condemn but to actually stop this we need to find the cause and stop immediately, that includes All the way from extremist imams to extremist family members AND the pressure and the factor some of the security forces have upon teens.

    A teacher claims Jihadi John had anger management therapy because of fighting and bullying. Muslim children in state schools have been victim of racism and bullying, All schools tried their best to hide such incidents under the carpet. Native teachers are chicken racist and they do nothing. When a Muslim child take the law in his hand by attacking the culprit, he is referred to anger management therapy by the teacher or punished by the school. Because of such treatment, Muslim children are unable to develop self-respect, self-confidence and self-esteem. In my opinion, it is a crime against humanity to send Muslim Muslim children to non-Muslim schools with non-Muslim teachers. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim. I have been campaigning for state funded Muslim school since early 70s because of racism and bullying. I set up the first Muslim school in 1981 in London, now there are 188 Muslim schools and only 18 are state funded. I would like to see each and every Muslim child in a Muslim school with Muslim teachers, otherwise, the number of Jihadi John would be on the increase.In Islam there is no commandment to kill people by making such allegations against them.

    Now a Muslim teacher was sent to jail for 6 years because he has decided to go to Syria. He is also a product of western education system. He was mis-educated and de-educated by state school with non-Muslim teachers. None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context.

    No one has any problem when: Jews keep beards and wear their traditional caps Christian priests and nuns wear their religious outfits Buddhist monks wear orange robes Sikhs keep beards and wear turbans Indian aunties wear Sarees (cross streets and hang out in Wal-Mart) Yeah but if any Muslim male keeps beard or if any Muslim girl wears hijab then everyone has problem. It’s Freedom when you go naked but it’s extremism when you wear hijab – just plain hypocrisy! Looking at the case of France, a major secular nation, I believe it is also not allowing women freedom by not letting her to wear her choice of clothing as it supposedly “clashes with French secular values”.

    Stop treating foreigners like garbage and they will stop ruining your precious country. Why did you let them in in the first place if you didn’t want them here? They left everything in their countries because of your promises. Are you so anxious to please that you can’t say “no”? I would love to see you go to a foreign land where you don’t have any friends, you don’t even know anyone and you don’t speak the language, and start from scratch.

    The British establishment is wrong in thinking that Imams are to blame for extremism. Imams are not solution to the problem for extremism. Extremism is nothing to do with Imams. Extremism is not created from abroad, it is coming from within. Britain fails to help Muslim communities feel part of British society. Race trouble is being predicted by the Daily Express, because of an ethnic boom in UK major cities. Muslim communities need imams for the solutions of their needs and demands in their own native languages. Muslim parents would like to see their children well versed in Standard English and to go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. The fact is that majority of Muslim children leave schools with low grades because monolingual teachers are not capable to teach Standard English to bilingual Muslim children. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.

    None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context.

    Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector.

    There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society.
    IA

  18. Ruqayat

    March 16, 2015 at 11:26 PM

    Very interesting and enlightening article. Thanks for sharing this knowledge. JazaakaAllahu khayran.

    • Walid

      March 17, 2015 at 9:01 PM

      My pleasure! I am glad you liked it!

  19. Umm Dawood

    March 17, 2015 at 3:16 AM

    Great article and all the points you made are great, however I think it’s extremely important to balance the points you’ve made with the political and historical context of extremism and how it has entered the Muslim space. We need to be highlighting the fact that the industry of Islamophobia, the history of war and invasion in Muslim countries, the policies and statements/or the lack of them by our leaders are the factors that drive people to extremism, that make one feel marginalised, and isolated from society. Only focusing on what we can do as parents/guardians, without recognising that all of this has come from external forces, misses the root cause of their angst and their frustrations. We need to address the external factors that are the cause as well as what we can do internally within our families and communities. Jazakallah khair for your article

    • Walid

      March 17, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      Thank you. I absolutely agree with you on that point. But quite frankly, kids/teens do not care about politics as much as adults/parents do. If my child asks me a political question, I will answer her. But I do not go out of my way to bring it up. We definitely live in a time where we MUST be sensitive to our children needs and concerns.

  20. Steve McCoy

    June 11, 2015 at 4:09 AM

    Hi Walid: I read your very interesting article on the top 5 things to do ….and we’d love to have you on our morning radio show here in Atlanta Ga sometime very soon…News radio 106 .7 fm…We are on from 5;30am-9am est. and if you would like to talk about this very important subject please contact me asap…

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