DETROIT – An American Muslim IT expert and university professor has started a unique educational program that turns mosques into part-time IT programing hubs, teaching young Muslim the language of the future.
“We complain that our youth play video games and [are] on their phones 24/7, but technology is hard to avoid nowadays,” Professor Omar Malik, a highly skilled software engineer and a part-time professor at Wayne State University, told Fusion TV on Monday, July 18.
“Imagine teaching them how to build their own educational games and Android apps to benefit humanity. That way they are building something useful, not wasting time.”
Born in Canada to a Muslim Pakistani couple, Malik attended the AlMaghrib Institute and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies.
To connect his passion for IT programming with his Muslim faith, he moved to the US from Canada, where he held leading positions at General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler in Michigan.
Remaining teacher at heart, he offered to implement IT programming into the curriculum that students are receiving in the Islamic centers and mosques.
Therefore, he started a unique educational program that turns mosques into part-time IT programming hubs where young people can turn their enthusiasm for technology into a useful skill set by learning different programing languages.
The program has also become a great way to engage Muslim women, with women making only 18 percent of computer science majors in the United States, according to according to a 2016 study by Accenture and Girls Who Code.
“Females make up less than 10 percent of my audience in mosques and Islamic centers,” Malik told a South Florida Muslim Young Professionals networking group earlier this month in Hollywood, Florida.
The women who have joined his IT classes say breaking down the barriers of stigma is the first step to breaking down barriers in the workplace, too.
“Today, more now than ever before, Muslim women are being ostracized in the workforce. Due to the perception some people have of Muslims, qualified Muslim women will often get overlooked for positions. One remedy for that is to have a set of invaluable skills,” said Leslie Stewart-Hood, member of South Florida Muslim Young Professionals.
“In today’s technology-driven environment, programming can give Muslim women a skill set employers cannot ignore.”