Press Release: Youth Violence StatementAssima Alam
26th November 2020
Youth Violence Statement
In recent months, we have seen a startling increase in youth violence within Birmingham with devastating effects. Green Lane Masjid & Community Centre (GLMCC) strongly urges youth, families, and mosques to work together to tackle this growing problem. Since June 2019, violent crime has risen by 17%, and there has also been a significant increase in weapon possession. Children as young as 11 are being implicated in acts of violence and crime, and many are now losing their lives on our streets.
Post-code wars are taking place in local residential areas, parks, and streets, and the community no longer feels safe. Recent violence has included stabbings, shootings, and machete battles. We have heard reports of multiple shootings on Green Lane over the last few weeks, and we are extremely concerned. Parents, young children, and the elderly now feel that they are at risk of being caught in the crossfire. The primary reasons we are seeing an increase in such violence is due to drugs, revenge attacks, and a dangerous attachment to materialism. We must act now before more lives are lost and our own loved ones are directly affected.
(Emptying of a knife bin at GLMCC after an anti-knife crime campaign in 2019)
Saleem Ahmed, Head of Youth at GLMCC comments, “The youth violence in our community is at a level we have never seen before. Shootings and stabbings are starting to become the norm with incidents occurring on almost a weekly basis. At GLM, we regularly engage with young people and have a good understanding of what drives the violence. It’s heartbreaking that our young brothers are losing their lives over money, drugs, and revenge attacks. We want our youth to be successful in both the dunya and akhirah by turning back to Allah. InshaAllah we are committed to working with the youth so that they can leave the dark circles of violence and start to become stronger believers.”
It is unfortunate that many of our Muslim youth have lost their connection with Allah and consequently, their sense of direction. At GLMCC we see it as our responsibility to provide safe spaces for youth to socialise, enjoy themselves and build their character, while also reconnecting with their faith. For this reason, we have recently launched a youth club to help our young people to stay off the streets, and instead, build a healthy relationship with positive role models. Additionally, we have previously run an anti-knife crime campaign, and have a permanent knife bank at the mosque for people to anonymously give up their weapons. As a final message, we urge families to speak with wisdom and gentleness to their relatives or friends who may be involved in violent crimes to help reduce the loss of life.
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
‘The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe.’ (Bukhari).
Preservation of life is one of the objectives of Islamic law. Anyone who therefore violates the sanctity of another’s life through murder is therefore committing a major sin. Allah the Almighty says in the Quran:
‘And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.’ (4:493).
However, it is never too late for a person to leave these ways and reform. Allah says,
‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ (39:53).
We call all youth to leave the streets behind them and start a new chapter with the support of their mosque.
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre is a leading UK mosque situated in the heart of Birmingham serving the community since 1979. Operating from its award-winning grade II listed Victorian building, GLMCC fulfills its mission of inspiring, educating, and serving through its educational college, outreach work, welfare services, international humanitarian wing, as well as its fully functional mosque which is attended by thousands every week.
For more information about or work and services visit: www.greenlanemasjid.org