Jami Omar Mosque focuses on meeting the needs of Muslim youthWritten by Maha Ansari
At the Jami Omar fundraising dinner on January 24th, Muslim leaders focused on the need for youth to have opportunities to get involved at local mosques. About five hundred guests filled the Jami Omar gymnasium at the fundraiser and Anver Malam, imam at the Jami Omar mosque, said the event would not have been possible without the help of youth volunteers.
Nineteen-year-old Zahra Ahmed was among these volunteers. Part of the setup and welcoming team at the dinner, Ahmed said attending events at the Jami Omar mosque can help young Muslims build supportive relationships with members of their local Muslim community. She explained that community engagement at the mosque is a means of helping young Muslims understand Islam.
Apart from opportunities at mosque events, Ahmed said youth-oriented programming at mosques can also clear misconceptions about Islam. “I think that increased programming can help prevent youth radicalization,” she said, “because this way the young can get a first-hand look of what Islam actually is. They don’t see it from the Internet, and the news, so they don’t get the wrong idea.”
Musleh Khan, one of North America’s youngest imams and a prominent speaker on Islam was a guest speaker at the dinner. He emphasized the need for the mosque to double as a supportive space where young Muslims can interact with their communities. “These youth are intelligent, they’re willing to learn, they want to engage with the community,” said Khan. “We just have to provide…resources for them.”
Khan also emphasized the importance of getting Muslim youth involved in their local mosque communities. “The key issue here is to make these youth part of the community as much as possible.”
Imam Malam said the facilities at the expanded Jami Omar mosque offer young Muslims the opportunity to interact with local Muslims in a supportive environment. “We try to cover as much as possible in terms of (a) good education and also provide [youth] with support.”
According to Malam, during the planning phase for the new Jami Omar mosque, the Jami Omar team had hoped the mosque would become a community centre that would attract youth. Today, Malam says he is pleased that the team’s vision has become a reality. Young Muslims use the Jami Omar multi-purpose mosque as a school, gymnasium, and a place of worship.
On the scale of youth programming the Jami Omar team hopes to provide, Malam says, “the sky is the limit.”
Looking toward the future, Malam said the Jami Omar team hope to continue providing programs and facilities that attract Muslim youth. “Our hope and our desire is to make this masjid a magnet for the youth,” he shared.
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