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Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow
Events

2006 Conference, Copenhagen

DATE: JULY 7-9, 2006
LOCATION: RADISSON, SAS SCANDINAVIA HOTEL

Amager Boulevard 70
Copenhagen S 2300
Denmark
T: +45 33 96 5000
F: +45 33 96 5500

In a tense global environment followed by attacks in London, riots in Paris, and now the Danish cartoon situation, young Muslims in the West find themselves in a time of enormous challenge and in an historic moment of need for dialogue and debate on issues of religion and identity. Given the acrimony that is now percolating down to the deepest levels of both Western and Muslim societies, we see it as imperative to address the issues that cause and exacerbate the divide between the former and latter. This is the very motivation behind our Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) program.

In a word, the MLT is an intrafaith conversation among young Muslims on major issues, such as integration, identity struggles, Islamic reactions to secularism, gender equality, among other pain points that breed alienation and extremism. The forum will convene young Muslim leaders who embody a wide spectrum of Muslims living in the West: varied per ethnicity, culture, religiosity, and individual politics. The philosophy that informs our approach is that Muslims are part of the solution, and not the problem. It is then extremely important for Muslims to come together to build inter and intra community partnerships, to gauge the current internal conversation and candidly discuss its shortcomings, and to formulate and implement programs that will help bring about much needed change.

  • What is Islam to you and how do you see it as an aspect of your identity? When is religion transformative and when is religiosity a function of insecure identity?
  • What do Muslims as a collective body mean to you? Do Muslims need to be unified and what would it mean to be unified?
  • What breeds alienation?
  • Is Islam in crisis? Is it in decline? What does it mean for a religion to be in crisis?
  • Who does one turn to for religious knowledge and religious guidance? What constitutes religious knowledge?

Questions such as these are already being actively debated in the Muslim communities. What is needed is a forum that brings together diverse Muslim voices and communicates their conversation widely. Our purpose in doing so is not only widen and continue the conversation, but also to put forth a leadership that is committed to the fostering of healthy Muslim identities and to working as change agents in their respective communities.

Goals:

  • Empower a constructive movement with an intended audience of both Muslims and non-Muslims, that embodies an expression of Islam that promotes pluralism, tolerance and human rights, and marginalizes fatalistic/extremist worldviews.
  • Engender a forum where a culturally, ideologically, and economically diverse group of Muslims can interact with one another on seminal issues regarding Muslims in the West.
  • Establish a strong network of young leaders for follow up programming where Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow convene to brainstorm and create opportunities for disenfranchised young Muslims.

Outcomes

  • Development of the participants into prominent leaders.
  • Establishing an online forum for debate that will channel participants' energies in a constructive direction, enabling new ideas to flourish, spawning collaborative projects, articles, position papers, and tangible, action-oriented strategies for reducing misunderstandings between Islam and the West.
  • In the long-term, generate change in public perceptions and attitudes both in the West about Islam and in Muslim countries about American/Western values.