Black Sunni & Shia Youth Workers come together for Youth Work.

In these times of division, hatred and sectarian issues among British Muslims in the 21st century, it’s refreshing to see forward thinking people going against the wave. We are here to heal such division with a radical approach to bring about unity, understanding and love.

Ismael Lea South of The Salam Project, a Sunni Muslim, youth and comminity consultant is an experienced Youth Worker who is the founder of The Salam Project. He has teamed up with Shia South London Youth Worker & Counsellor Sulayman Andrew Muhammad of YES (Youth Empowerment Solutions). Sulaiyman Andrew Matthews works in Brixton and West Norwood.

They openly admit to mistrust and open hostility for many years due to entrenched sectarian issues and differences. However because of the growing cancerous epidemic of knife crime, gang crime, drug abuse and county lines now completely out of control and mismanaged by central and local government and statutory youth organisations they had to put those petty issues aside. They are currently working effectively in reducing such social ills around youth criminality and violence in South and North West London. Once again uniting post codes for a pan-london solution.

Their joint venture will deal with calls from parents, mentors, siblings, carers and new youth focused organisations who need assistance with young people in need. This would be relating to permanent exclusion, drug abuse, mental health issues, anti social behaviour and youth crime activity. They will be providing counselling, intervention and referring young people to aspirational employment or accredited training opportunities. They will also be working with drug dealers by getting them to transfer their skills to legitimate business entrepreneurship opportunities by assisting them with business grants/loans opportunities through partnering organisations for true community cohesion and civil youth engagement.

Another interesting note is that they have started a campaign called STASH UK. STASH stands for Start Tech Accountability Stop Hate.

Sulayman explains,

“We are seeing a plethora of gang crime, knife crime and extremist material on social media platforms influencing vulnerable youths. What we find concerning is that there doesn’t seem to be any relevant action done against this.
We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition they desire. Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”

Ismael further explains,

I’m glad that we have joined together to do some outreach in South and North West London but we are taking everything step by step. With STASH UK our aim is to lobby the London Mayor, the UK government and the United Nations. I truly believe that the advisors and consultants advising these social media companies on gang crime and extremist material do not have a clue. The people advising these companies seem to be incompetent, out of date, out of touch and it seems to be blind leading the blind.
There needs to be a change as this nonsense is ruining lives.”

They were both brought together by the Faith’s Forum who recognised both of their works in the community and insisted that they should work together. They both insist that project is open for everyone of all or no faiths in communities. Let’s hope this will encourage more youth workers of various walks of life to come together to help young people in communities.

Categories: Solutions, Stories

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