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How Shia communities have failed their youth

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21-July-2019

Matrimony is an amazing essential human function in ensuring the perpetuation of the species. Faith communities across the world value their youth and ensure that respectable environments are provided to foster healthy relationships between the youth. These relationships lead to matrimony and create a more dynamic environment for the next generation. Shia communities have failed […]

Matrimony is an amazing essential human function in ensuring the perpetuation of the species. Faith communities across the world value their youth and ensure that respectable environments are provided to foster healthy relationships between the youth.

These relationships lead to matrimony and create a more dynamic environment for the next generation. Shia communities have failed in this essential function.

A combination of racism, tribalism, excessive gender segregation and disregard for the youth have seen the Shia Muslim youth look outwards for finding their future life partners.

This, in turn, has to lead to the disenchantment with Shia centers and organizations. It has also lead to the dilution of the Shia faith identity as youngsters are forced to compromise their faith identity in order to be accepted within other faith communities.

This especially applies to those faith groups which have historically been intolerant of Shia Muslims and whose acceptance of Shias through intermarriage is often predicated on disproportionate compromises by the latter.

Shia Muslims, like many other faith communities, are diverse. Unfortunately, they often value ethnic and tribal insularity over their shared Shia faith identities.

For example, it is rare for South Asian Shia Muslims intermarrying with Lebanese. Or for Shia Muslims of South Asian origin to intermarry with Kenyan and Nigerian Shias.

Moreover, segregation trends have reached an extreme in recent times. Marriages have become excessively segregated, even beyond Islamic requirements. Devotional events like Milads, Qawwalis, and Qaseed Khawnis are now considered taboo under the prevailing literalist Wahhabi trends.

If Shia youth cannot even meet in a respectable and Islamically chaperoned environment, how are they supposed to even identify their life partners??

Older Shia generations have also excluded their youth from the important task of community building and developing transparent and well-governed enterprises. Rather than educating the next generation, the emphasis is on importing foreign clerics who often clash with the prevailing civilization.

Shia youth needs to be empowered and given responsibility. They need to be mentored by elder generations and introduced to future life partners in a mature and respectful environment.

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