Event Spotlight: The Importance of Civic Engagement-Panel Discussion by MCNNY
If you would like to watch the full discussion, it is recorded on their facebook page from February 10, 2021.
Before the session I perceived that information, from events I have attended in the past, would be repeated in this one. This session was completely different from my assumptions. Watching Muslim women be leaders in their communities was inspiring.
Building Relationships between Demographics
Providing the space for the diverse Muslims in the world is really important. Soraya Ahyaudin stated that having a place where Muslims can discuss issues and their perspectives is important at the national level. Soraya Ahyaudin is right. Being a Muslim myself, I have seen the diversity of Muslims. I have a different perspective compared to a person who is Indonesian and Muslim and that is something that all should be aware about. Especially the media.
Lack of True Civic Education
We need education about civics that can help us continue in the future. Stressing civics in youth education is important. Most students only learn about protests and the branches of government. “The reality is that this generation or any generation you only see the fruits of it once they graduate and go on to the real world. Did we as educators do our job nourishing them, teaching them, making them analyze , making them think about their responsibility as a citizen , really comes out years from now” Principal Arsheen Sayeed explained. It is difficult to measure the impact. We have to start with small steps like participating in school and school events. Students need to realize that we are in a community. They have to question how they can make a difference. Not only does civics need to be in the curriculum, it needs to be practised as well. I agree with this. I wish someone would have introduced me to civics at an earlier age. Even a small step like inviting me to attend a session like this one would have been helpful.
Working with other organizations is imperative in educating all communities, be it Muslim or non-Muslim. MCN partners with organizations that are faith-based or not faith-based. Youth engagement is increasing, but there are still gaps in who are the ones participating. Muslim youth need to step up to the plate. In order to face social inclusion issues, inequality and even gender gap as Soraya Ahyaudin has stated. The youth will be leaders and decision-makers and they have an influence on future decisions. “You matter. Your participation is so important” Soraya Ahyaudin emphasized. Many Muslim women are facing Islamaphobia since they are in high government positions. These women are inspirational to youth. It does discourage Muslims, especially American Muslim women, to be a leader in policy. Proper civic education is important to ease that discomfort. In Muslim communities, civics is not prioritized. Most are prioritizing living and surviving in the United States. Civic education will prove to students that civic engagement is vital in your life. It is the chance for you to have control over decisions about issues you face.