Muslim youth summit for a positive future

Wednesday 1 Jun 2016

Muslim youth delegates WaggaCreating an Australian Muslim identity was central to topics discussed at the National Muslim Youth Summit held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra on Saturday 28 May.

Lecturer in theology, philosophy and history and Director of the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp said there was a need for such an initiative.

"The Summit aimed to provide an opportunity for Muslim youth to voice concerns and address contemporary issues relevant to youth and to look for ways youth could explore constructive solutions to religious and social issues," Professor Ozalp said.

"In light of the recent spotlight on Muslim youth in Australia, we recognise the importance of providing Muslim youth with an appropriate platform in a comfortable and conducive environment to discuss issues that affect them the most.

"Muslim youth need to be empowered to deal with the challenges they face in the land they call home. The Summit fostered robust discussion, collaboration, and networking, proposed solutions, and looked to the future together."

Professor Ozalp, pictured above with Afghan youth delegates from Wagga Wagga, is also the President of the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy (ISRA) which jointly organised the event with the Canberra Islamic Centre (CIC).

Muslim Youth Summit Canberra May 2016The Summit (pictured left) was attended by approximately 150 Muslim youth delegates from almost every state in Australia. Extremism, religious discrimination, social exclusion, unemployment, drugs and alcohol abuse, and mental health were among topics discussed.

Professor Ozalp said a network of Muslim youth can play a very active and influential role, and urged participants to work towards building an Australian Muslim identity their grandchildren could embrace and perpetuate.

"It is not about casting anything aside but looking for ways of being Muslim and Australian at the same time," Professor Ozalp told participants.

"If you look across the world practising Islam, each area has a unique character. Islam is adaptable and fluid in a sense outside of its core principles, and it can adapt to local settings. We have done it in Africa, Central Asia and India. Why can't we do it in Australia?"

The summit included other prominent speakers from the Muslim community including long-term youth worker Mr Shaykh Wesam Charkawi; leading Muslim youth activist, author and professional drilling engineer Ms Yassmin Abdel-Magied;and author, activist and academic Mr Mehal Krayem.


Media contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp.