A place to learn

Rutherglen Reformer - - Special Feature - Dou­glas Dickie

Tucked away be­hind Ruther­glen Main Street, the Min­haj ul Qu­ran cen­tre is a rel­a­tively unas­sum­ing build­ing.

But be­tween these walls some of the most im­por­tant work within the Is­lamic faith is tak­ing part – steer­ing young Mus­lims away from ex­trem­ism.

Young peo­ple aged be­tween 14 and 21 at­tend classes at the cen­tre ev­ery Satur­day, study­ing 25 Is­lamic texts and us­ing pas­sages in the Ko­ran to ar­gue against ex­trem­ism.

Imam Muham­mad Babar has been based at the Ruther­glen cen­tre since it opened in 2009 and he is keen for the pub­lic to see the work that is go­ing on be­hind closed doors.

He is also ea­ger to ed­u­cate those out­with the Is­lamic faith as to the true mean­ing of their re­li­gion, fo­cussing on one word that has be­come syn­ony­mous with ter­ror­ism. “Ter­ror­ists use the term ‘ Ji­had’ wrongly,” he ex­plains. “They give a mis­con­cep­tion of what it is about and then brain­wash young­sters.

“Ji­had means ‘strug­gle’; a strug­gle for good or against poverty to give you some ex­am­ples.

“If there is divi­sion then you strug­gle to elim­i­nate that divi­sion – that is a true Ji­had.

“If there is poverty in so­ci­ety then you do wel­fare work and try and help poor peo­ple – this is a Ji­had.

“There are all sorts of strug­gle that fight the evils in so­ci­ety. It does not mean killing in­no­cent peo­ple or killing peo­ple be­cause they do not agree with your opin­ion.

“That is to­tally wrong and a wrong in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ji­had. That’s some­thing that is not un­der­stood in west­ern so­ci­ety.”

The classes are de­signed to en­sure the young peo­ple are equipped with the knowl­edge to re­ject in­ter­pre­ta­tions of ‘Ji­had’ that may lead to vi­o­lence.

“We are giv­ing our young­sters a true pic­ture of Is­lam so they have the proper knowl­edge to go for­ward,” Imam Babar adds. It is some­thing Shaykh Re­han, a qual­i­fied Imam, agrees with, es­pe­cially in a world where so­cial me­dia can shape kids from a very young age.

“There is a re­port by the Home Of­fice that says peo­ple who are equipped with Is­lam are ac­tu­ally more resilient to ex­trem­ism,” he says.

“They won’t be able to be taken away or hi­jacked by peo­ple who have ter­ror­ist views. If you teach young peo­ple true val­ues, they will be­come more resilient.

“It’s very im­por­tant to get them at a young age, even eight, nine or 10. We live in a time where so­cial me­dia has taken over and they are us­ing that to re­cruit. That is one of the ma­jor prob­lems. Young peo­ple can be ex­posed to that in their own time so it’s very im­por­tant to ed­u­cate them.”

There are be­tween 20 and 30 young peo­ple at to­day’s classes, both boys and girls.

Their course will take six months to com­plete, al­though it is pos­si­ble to com­plete it quicker.

I am sat be­side Shaykh and Dr Habib, who will take to­day’s class,

Smiles The classes play an im­por­tant role in keep­ing young Mus­lims away from ex­trem­ism

Learn­ing This group of young fe­males en­joyed learn­ing about the teach­ings of the Qu’ran

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.