By Nontobeko Mkhwanazi
The Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) held its 19th National Youth Leadership Camp recently at As-Salaam, Braemar on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal bringing together 50 youth from KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng.
Lectures, workshops and other working sessions were conducted on various topics including the Sirah of the Prophet (SAW), Companions of the Prophet (SAW) as an example to our youth, Introduction to the Quran, Leadership Development, Human Relations and Anti-Racism, Living Islam in a Multi-Cultural Pluralistic Society, Volunteerism and Public Speaking.
In practically demonstrating all the theory that was learnt at the camp, participants had to undertake a field visit meeting and interacting with families in the local community as well as initiating a vegetable garden for the As-Salaam Educational Institute. On a lighter note debates, quizzes, impromptu speeches and a cultural evening were also part of the programme.
Participants acknowledged that social media is a new medium for the perpetuation of racism. They plan to use the very same medium to end it. Students believe that some of the root causes of racism are lack of knowledge and ignorance to the fact that no human is less than the other because of the color of their skin.
Guest speaker, Farida Patel, said that it is important that the youth engage robustly about the issues of racism so that they can come up with ideas on how to put an end to this inhuman act. She further stated that one of the techniques to ending the use of commonly used racist’s words is to understand the words. “Once you understand the racist words, be courageous to let those who use them know that it is wrong and they should stop using them.” By doing so, we will inspire others to stand up against racism,” she said.
Participant, Maarifah Mdletshe, said that racism exists in every corner of the world and the only way to put an end to it is if the youth unite and fight against it. “The youth of South Africa united are powerful. They fought for free education and won. I believe that one day they will victoriously defeat racism,” said Mdletshe.
Former MYM KZN Chairperson and current member of the KZN Legislature, Moulana Rafeek Shah, a speaker at the camp, said that all the answers to ending racism are in the Quran. “All human beings are created equal by the One Creator, and no one is superior to another on the basis of his or her birth or family or tribe,” said Shah.
He pointed out the verse in the The Quran that states: O mankind! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware. [49:13]