Leaving work yesterday evening I saw a young couple canoodling behind the offices. Not an unusual sight I suppose in the middle of a large cosmopolitan city in central England on a warm slightly grey evening. A young Asian couple probably not more than 17-18 years of age sharing a little bit of intimacy before heading home. They certainly didn’t look old enough to be a married couple! What made me stop and look again was the fact that the young pretty girl – dressed relatively modestly in jeans and a top and jacket was wearing the hijab.
For far too many young girls the hijab or headscarf has become little more than a fashion accessory and a way of earning more freedom from their families. Wearing a headscarf has become synonymous with being a good Muslim and conversely if you’re not wearing a headscarf by definition you become a bad Muslim. Yet the whole notion of modesty is so lost on this group of young people. Why do they feel so torn between cultures?
There is a real need to work with the young Muslims in this country and ensure they understand the teachings of Islam in such a way that they fully appreciate what is expected of them not just as Muslims, but as representatives of Islam and just as importantly as citizens in British society. There is no clash of cultures – there is just a need to understand how to balance our lives and how to make full use of and embrace all that is good around us and stay away from all that is not.