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“Youth Global Action Countering Islamophobia”

The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum successfully held the first half of the “Youth Global Action Countering Islamophobia” event at its headquarters in Istanbul on the 4th of August 2021. The event served as a call to the youth to unite and come together under the umbrella of togetherness, unity, and cooperation in countering a common problem that has affected the Muslim world, Muslim youth in particular as evidenced by recent events in the last decade owing to the growth in popularity of social media tools.

The event which saw ICYF opening its doors to the esteemed high-level delegates, representatives of arms of governments from within the OIC region and beyond, the office of the OIC Secretary-General, members of the press, and youth representatives was also broadcasted live on ICYF’s social media to thousands of viewers from across the globe.

The OIC Secretary-General’s speech read in absentia highlighted the great work ICYF has done in the last decade and the strides it has covered on its mission to provide opportunities and remove barriers for the largest demography in the OIC region, which are the youth. H.E. Taha Ayhan, ICYF President in his opening remarks had the following to say, “We believe that there is a need to coordinate national and international efforts, and deconstruct Islamophobic narratives, promote inter-faith and inter-religious dialogues among youth communities.

This global youth action on countering Islamophobia is very inclusive not and not only for OIC institutions or the Muslim youth only. It is an open call for the global community that seeks the help of all our young people to stop the spread of hatred.

His excellency also expressed his satisfaction with the direction the Muslim youth have taken in countering Islamophobia, as he repeatedly encouraged the use of dialogue and communication in trying to achieve harmony and unity in the road to peace and cooperation.

Speaking to the attendants and thousands of youths watching the program online, H.E. Dr.Mehmet Kasapoğlu, Minister of Youth & Sports of The Republic of Turkey At The Opening Ceremony of The Youth Global Action Countering Islamophobia Said The Following: ” Prejudices of Society Are Reproduced, Especially by Using The Popular Culture Industry.” The honorable minister reminded the youth to use the media, social media in particular for their betterment and the spread of peace and to refrain from causing or fueling chaos. The importance of social media in combating misinformation was evident throughout his speech and his message was as clear as daylight when it comes to his vision for the Muslim youth who require support and guidance when tackling issues like Islamophobia that have set them back in the race to the future.

The first day of the two-day event ended on a good note with panelists from different backgrounds weighing in on the big issues of the day, chief among these, Islamophobia and social exclusion.

Dr. Saqlain Javed reminded us all that Islamophobia is a human rights violation and has a huge impact on young people. He argued that young Muslims were unable to practice their religion in environments in an Islamophobic environment. He noted that some young people are ashamed to even express their beliefs, while others are reactively thrown into extremist thoughts.

On behalf of the OIC president, Ahmed Sareer, head of the organization’s Asia region, took part in the opening ceremony speeches at the panel. Mr. Sareer said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has carried out important work to mobilize all institutions in the fight against Islamophobia.

The panel held talks on the theme of youth in the fight against Islamophobia & Azerbaijan’s Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Ferhat Hajiyev spoke at the opening ceremony via video. H.E. Hajiyev emphasized that Muslim youth were the most affected group in the fight against Islamophobia as they are the most vulnerable and the ones at the receiving end thus more has to be done to help them navigate the waters.

The impact of this event will never go unnoticed and the valuable contributions of every individual, organization, and player in making this great vision a reality will forever remain in the hearts of the youth whom ICYF swore to serve.

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