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Educating Muslim youth about Islam key focus of Ramadan celebrations

New media initiatives such as an interactive Web portal, social media pages, a video competition and a WhatsApp service will allow youth to get free Quran teaching services and daily tasks from administrators.

SINGAPORE: Concerned about the inadequate knowledge of Islam among Muslim youth, the organising committee behind this year’s Ramadan celebrations is making this segment a key focus.

This will involve new media initiatives such as an interactive Web portal, social media pages, a video competition and a WhatsApp service that allows youth to get free Quran teaching services and daily tasks from administrators. The committee has also enlisted the help of interest groups and members from the Private Islamic Educators Network to help spread the message to youth. A new Ramadan Frequently Asked Questions guidebook was also produced.

On top of that, there will be the usual Islamic education classes for the young, prayer workshops, Quran literacy programmes, as well as outreach efforts targeting homes in areas such as Telok Blangah and Bukit Merah.

Mr Khalid Shukur Bakri, chairman of the celebrations, said mosque leaders’ research has shown there is a need for them to do more to educate the Malay-Muslim community, especially the youth, such as those who have not attended religious classes, for instance.

Those who do not understand Islam or have inadequate knowledge of it may have a different mindset and might not be “giving the right messages or advice to their friends”.

“They may have a different view ... of Islam so whatever they would say on Facebook, whatever they would point out to their friends, might not be the actual or right thing according to Muslim teaching,” he said.

Mr Ahmad Ghazali Nordin, head of the Ramadan Youth Challenge – a youth outreach campaign – said research from the Singapore Islamic Hub showed that about 60 per cent of Muslim youth do not get full Islamic education. They hope to reduce this percentage “to make (those youths) a part of us in the mosque and in the community”, he said.

The Touch of Ramadan celebrations, supported by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, is an initiative spearheaded by the North West Mosque Cluster and Ramadan Youth Challenge Committee 2014. Ramadan begins this Sunday.

Speaking to reporters after the launch of the celebrations, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, noted that youth today are exposed to many distractions and the community must engage them through mediums such as social media or youth ambassadors.

“It’s the peer-to-peer kind of connection that we want to encourage ... using the platforms that young people are comfortable with,” he said.

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