From dating to gaming and creating their own online spaces, Muslim youth and the internet are usually paired together in an interesting and innovative way that has been explored by journalist Hussein Kesvani in his new book, Al-Araby reported.
Kesvani explores in his first book, Follow Me, Akhi: The Online World of British Muslims, how the vast majority of Muslims use the internet.
The idea came to him after leaving Buzzfeed in 2016, and realizing that “no news organization in the UK was covering religion well and that I wouldn’t be able to do any community justice in such an environment.”
With a notebook full of stories about “people making their own prayer spaces, or challenging mosque committees, or even just forming a Facebook group to talk about sexual health”, Kesvani realized he wanted to write about the “insightful and revolutionary acts that showed the real concerns facing British Muslims.
“The conflicts and battles around self-expression, reconciling aspects of faith and identity within a community, were way more pressing and telling of the British Muslim experience, than people going to go join the Islamic State group,” he added.
Having dreamed of covering the politics beat, Kesvani was initially reluctant to be pigeonholed into writing about Islam just because of his own Muslim background.
“Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the job,” he said.
“But I think I was always aware that the reason I was where I was came because of my ethnic and religious background, and that was always reinforced when deeply reported stories I published didn’t really garner the same attention as a piece of gossip that came out of Westminster’s pubs.”
Kesvani also demonstrates how Muslims are using the internet to explore scripture and gain a deeper understanding of their faith, a role that usually falls to mosques.
“Imams could use that as a way of speaking directly to young people in their own community, and they might be able to innovate how they teach and lecture in accordance to the needs of their specific community, rather than feeling they need to perform for a large, international audience.”
Islam as a natural, pragmatic and logical religion and way of life is easily compatible with every natural, pragmatic and logical need and urge of theirs. What is more, Islam painstakingly cultivates and preserves them. Surely, in – and to – Islam, youth is exceptional.
Furthermore, Islam should be presented to the youth as the living truth. It should be proven at all levels that it contains answers and solutions for all predicaments of mankind – including those affecting youth.
As the ultimate truth, Islam should operate above the constrictions of space and time and their endless vicissitudes. Islam makes no distinction between races, genders, different age categories, and geographical as well as historical points. Its only benchmark is piety, while freedom, justice, comprehensive excellence, compassion, and unity constitute its unmistaken traits.