When Somali youth have made story-lines over the last few years, they have generally done so for the most unfortunate of reasons, mainly that some are going to Somalia to join and fight for Al-Shabaab. A different perspective, however, appeared today in the Washington Post about the challenges Somali youth face while growing up in Boston. It paints a different picture of their lives as well as the activities of mosques outside of what we typically see in the mainstream media.
Some of Imam Webb’s comments from the Washington Post article really struck a cord with me as a sociologist. He touched on some of the most difficult problems facing young, minority groups growing up in the US. For example, he states that ‘As religious leaders, we need to explain to the older generation that these are young people navigating a lot of difficult challenges’. The generational gap will inevitably exist in the process of migration as parents and their children grow into different cultures. The key is how to smooth the transition.
Imam Webb also mentioned something very powerful, that ‘The tears of the sinner can be more valuable than the arrogant smile of the pious. People need to appreciate the struggles of the sinner’. The ICCB’s initiative is important not only because it is actively taking misguided youth off the streets, but also because it’s a story that can help non-Muslims see the great work mosques are doing for American youth. The ICCB’s contributions to the betterment of American society should not go unnoticed.