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Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow 2006 Copenhagen, Denmark American Society for Muslim Advancement In partnership with Cordoba Initiative
What have we learned so far? In July 2006, over 100 emerging dynamic Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLTs) gathered from across Europe, the US and Canada to build dialogue, understand one another and form partnerships. 3 days of conversation, discussion and debate has provided insight into the multitude of perspectives of active, concerned Muslims. • Their fears: Extremists defining the Islamic agenda; the mass media over representing particular ideologies, painting broad generalizations and conflating political, social - essentially human issues with religion; & the lack of transparency and accountability of governments neglecting democratic and ethical values. • Their concerns: Intolerance within the Muslim community; absence of role models in Islamic leadership; confusion between integration and assimilation; rigidity of outdated attitudes towards women and sexuality. • What tires them: Being judged by others; divide between thought and action; irrelevant issues dominating Islamic thinking; lack of civil dialogue to express and understand the diversity of interpretations. • What excites them: Societal advancement towards pluralism; growing response of civil society; Muslims in Europe and American defining new solutions; potential of future generations, Muslim and non-Muslim • What must be done: Explore pertinent issues and their roots; develop a strategic roadmap; empower the leadership and enable them to become change agents; implement mechanisms to effect change; and maintain vision.
Why must we continue? • Muslims are in a pivotal period of enormous challenge and transformation, in particular concerning: theology, identity, integration, pluralism, etc. • Left unaddressed, these issues are leading to continuing ignorance, harmful ideologies, violent reactions, social injustice and further obstacles towards human development • Acrimonious attitudes are developing at the deepest levels of both Western and Muslim societies, it is imperative to: • Empower a constructive movement amongst young Muslims to educate and effect positive change.
How to achieve success? • Create a transformative experience for a highly diverse group of young Muslims, varied per gender, ethnicity, individual politics and religious interpretation. • Utilize a workshop oriented approach to ensure a high level of focus on key issues to allow a deeper cross pollination of ideas. • Empowerment of the participants into change agents. • Facilitate continued and active exchange of ideas through creation of a network of MLT conference participants. • Implement an infrastructure to develop and sustain leadership, change and progress.